Chapter Ten: Herding Sheep

Following a trail of bloody footprints after the jailbreak, Gladbaegol and Associates, a subsidiary of Wrye Industries, fought goons, mooks, tentacle beasts and the fiercest opponent of all: Math, to arrive where they currently find themselves:  barred into the former dwelling of The Former and his larger counter-part, The Latter.  The group had just defeated a contingent of Coppergut’s goons who stayed behind to buy time for their boss to escape with several body bags.  They weighed their options as they take a short rest.

daytown-sewers
Daytown Sewers

As the party was still resting, they hear a knock at the door.  “Glenn Gladbaegol?” A familiar, robotic voice asks.  “I have something for you!”  Yet another familiar package is placed in his hands, a 3’x3′ cardboard box with the words “For Glenn” written in a neutral penmanship.  “WHYYYYYY!” Shouts Glenn to the heavens.  “Who is it from????” he demands of the mailbot.  “I do not know, there is no return address.  I do, however, have another letter for you.”

Glenn asked for a moment, and then updated his collection to the six sheep he now possessed.  He hunted the box for any inkling of who was sending him large, stuffed sheep.  This was the sixth sheep, whom he named Cadbury, for his yellow fur and green eyes.  Eventually he gave up, resigned to always receive stuffed sheep, and accepted the letter.

2nd-Letter-from-Sister

Glenn glumly collected the gold contained within the letter, and handed it to Bridget.  He had quickly discovered, upon her arrival, that his leadership had only been tied to his station and was quickly replaced among his traveling companions.  Even his contributions to his family’s distillery — the whole point for leaving Revalia in the first place, were being returned to him as unnecessary.  What was he even doing here?  He sulked in silence for the remainder of the rest.

Later, outside the door, muffled sounds of a large number of footprints approach, and conversations can be heard from outside.

A younger, male voice calls out, “Gladbaegol and Associates?  Are you in there?”

Gwydgen and Leon hop on either side of the door, bracing for a fight, Bridget stands firmly in front and responds in the affirmative.  Moments later, the door slides open and they are staring at a retinue of city employees, Unktion, the Gorilla-Kin who acts as the bodyguard and right hand man of for The Piston, as well as a pair of insurance investigators, an elderly gentleman and an overly eager teenager struggling to hold onto some vials of sewer water.

Unktion steps forward, saying “Ah, there you are.  We were hoping we’d be able to catch you.  Seems the city of Daytown is in your debt.  Can you share what all happened here?”

The party explains that the sewage has been contaminated (more than usual), the workers were monsters in disguise, for some reason there is a mad scientist’s lab set up here, and Coppergut’s goons escaped through a door on the opposite end of the sewers. They ask for, and receive, a skeleton key for the remainder of the sewer doors.  Unktion explains that the city has enough on its plate trying to deal with the civil engineering crisis that is a ruined sewer system, and offers a substantial bounty to assist in the arrest of those involved in the jailbreak and the sewers, namely Coppergut, The Jester, Plantkin Lady, and Crocman.

Unktion shakes his head.  “I don’t understand.  How long has Coppergut run these sewers?  And how are these…tentacle things…assuming our identities?  Dick, make sure the Versity folks get these samples.”

Dick and Terry, the insurance investigators, begin discussing what the level of payout the city is looking at for the destruction of their sewers.

“Oh, how much would that cost?” Asked Gwydgen.

“Upwards of 25,000 gold if we’re looking at a complete loss, hopefully we’re nowhere near that,” Dick replied, staring into a vial of acid.  “We’ll be busy working on getting to the bottom of this.  I know a pair of wizards from Versity who will be able to better determine what exactly is in this sewage, with any luck they can come up with some way to counteract the acidity.  Come on Terry,”  he said, satisfied that they had gotten what they came for.

Content that she had all the information she needed, Bridget urged the party onward.  Bastine headed down to the yellow keypad, which stood opposite from the mad scientist’s room.  This keypad was different in that there were only two buttons, a green and a red button.  Bastine swiped the card, pressed the green button, and waited.  A number began counting down from 30, and beeping.  The party sat dumbfounded, as it ticked down, Bastine tried pressing the red button but it seemed to have no effect.  The group ran behind cover as it ticked down…5….4….3….2….1….and then they heard a chime. The door opened.

Inside the room they found a steaming pool of sewage with steps going down to it.  Near the sewage was a bone that had been picked clean, a rudimentary bed, and a trail of blood from the door to the steaming pool.  Working through what they just learned, that a croc-man is on the loose, the party decided that fully exploring the sewers might be a good idea.  So they continued on, using the keycard on the southern-most door.  They wound their way up a flight of stairs to a partially cracking wall.  Leon decided to do what he does best, and charge that sucker.  And charge he did!  Critically striking the wall, and surprising a Crocman who had thought himself safe in the room with an entrance only he knew of.  Crocman attacked with gusto, biting, clawing with disease-filled claws, and attempting to tail-swipe Bridget, Glenn and others into the tainted sewage.  His attempts proved fruitless, he was quickly surrounded and put out of commission.

The group decided that the he was way too heavy to drag back to Unktion, so Leon offered to chop his head off and return it.  Brutal, to be sure, but there’d be no question of who the head had belonged to.  This didn’t quite go as planned, however, as Unktion was a bit shocked at the site of the severed head — “I asked you to arrest them, not decapitate them, remember?”  He still paid out, but warned Daytown would like to see them brought to justice, not executed without being tried.

Continuing the exhaustive search of the mines, the party re-entered the turbine room they had fought Coppergut in, but this time took the north door, rather than follow him through the door on the east end of the room.  They walked for ten minutes…twenty minutes.  The sewer wound its way for a while and they reached a ladder.  Taking it, they popped out behind an alley, right near the Expensive Statue Tavern!

the-expensive-statue-tavern
The Expensive Statue: Day

Only, something was amiss.  A Clontish longboat had docked, and Leon’s son Jon was in the grips of a very large fellow who may have bore more than a slight resemblance to Liam Neeson, Seadgh Clontus, and several members of the Clontish special forces.  Glenn launched immediately into his smooth-talker routine, making sure everyone was OK, pointing out that the law of this land had already proven Leon’s was the boy’s true father.  Iorveth, who had initiated Leon into the ranks of The Penitent the day prior, had run to the docks when he heard of the trouble.  He arrived, and declared the weight of law stood behind Leon’s claim to his son.  Seadgh finally asked his now apparent son-in-law about his disappearance.  “No da, I wanted to follow him!  I stowed away on his ship! And he’s saved me several times now!”.

“Hmmm…your mother isn’t going to be happy…Write home, will you?” asked a surprisingly accepting father-in-law.

The Clonts turned and left.  Leon turned to thank Iorveth, “Please, watch over my boy as I figure out what is going on here.”

“Of course, Leon, we’ll move him to The Temple of Selnoir, he’ll be under our protection.”

Given all that had happened that day, and the fact that they ended up right outside the hotel they were staying at anyway, the party rested for the night and went back to exploring the next morning.

Returning to the sewer, Bridget & Co. explored the eastern-most door cautiously.  Leon noticed a tripwire stretching across the sewer.  Glenn heard tripwire, and was excited! He had been practicing his roguery with some of the crewman from The Lazy Minnow, and decided that taking up a life of swashbuckling and learning the finer points of things like thieves’ tools, might pay dividends.  He got his first taste of disarming traps and snipped the trip wire with ease.

It was dark in this section of the tunnel, and the group explored north, unwilling to step foot into the water for fear of acid burns.  Turning a corner, they could see light escaping from the northern pipe, and before they got there, they found a ratkin fishing in the sewers right before the northern gate.  He was surrounded by a retinue of tiny turtles, whom he had clearly taken a strong liking to.  Glenn pumped the ratkin for information: How long have you been here? Have you seen anyone go by this way?  The ratkin had not, but he was concerned for his turtles, they seemed a little radioactive.  Glenn thanked him for his time, and they moved on.  They were now on the wrong side of either acid, or a crumbling section of sewer to get across to the exit out the south-east.  Gwydgen wandered around for a bit, and was able to misty step over to discover a box, about 3′ x 3′, shining in the darkness.  He wandered over to investigate it.  As he picked it up, he could hear the eerie laughter of a fae woman.

The best way you can describe the dressing on the box is it is the night’s sky in reverse.  Marked in fae on the bottom of the box is the word ‘Apex’

Gwydgen tried to interact with it, but couldn’t really puzzle out what to do with the thing, so he shrugged, and started carrying the box around.  “It’ll come into play at some point, I’m sure.”

Meanwhile, the rest of the party needed to cross the chasm or the sewers.  Glenn deftly positioned his feet on his charge across the crumbling stone, and his footholds held for the most part as he ran.  Bastine hopped across the water, Leon just long jumped powerfully across, and Bridget attempted Glenn’s path across the rocks and more of the rocks fell beneath her feet, Glenn was there to dive and catch her as she fell below the crumbling rocks.

As they approached the southern exit, they could hear the sound of rushing water, and rain, and decided to investigate.

Daytown Reservoir Day
Daytown Reservoir Day

The exit out of the sewers was in a pipe that stood 50′ above the water.  Deciding that they needed to get down, Glenn, Leon and Bastine all jumped, and it was about then that the Hydra exposed its five heads from the water, and chanting they hadn’t noticed before from above the pipe grew louder.

Glenn, Leon and Bridget, feeling much less confident in the water than on the ground, rushed towards the island in the center of the reservoir to attempt to fight it on equal footing.  Bastine opted to attack it from the rockface on the north-eastern side.  He was a little too exposed, however, and the hydra went straight for him.  Getting hit too many times, he prayed for divine intervention as many of the attacks went straight for him, his divine luck, all used consecutively to escape death.  Bastine was able to escape to cover after that.  Gwydgen, realizing that they were fighting a caster, the same Kraken Priest they had fought earlier in the sewers of the The Lords Industrial, realized he couldn’t be left alone to attack unhindered, and misty stepped to the rock-face immediately to his west, and harried his foe with eldritch blasts from almost equal elevation.

Bridget attacked, striking true with her rapier poked twice, chopping off a head, followed by Leon, who was still blindfolded, seeking divine providence in his newfound quest to train as a paladin of Selnoir began striking savagely at the beast.  He hacked off a second head.  And then…the heads regrew, and struck back at Leon.  He jumped from the island onto one of the hydra’s heads!  Rodeoing the beast, he continued to strike wildly.  Glenn attempted something similar, but the beast was too unwieldly for him, and he fell into the water.  There was a moment in the heat of battle where the kraken priest began raining down lightning upon the party.  Leon decided to return the favor, and hurled his Javelin of Lightning at the beast, striking three of the tentacle heads for massive damage before hitting its intended target, the kraken priest himself.  That, along with significant damage from Gwydgen, was enough to topple the monstrous priest off the side of the cliff into the water below.

Leon began drawing the Hydra’s ire, and it struck with all of its heads.  The barbarian screamed in rage, as heads he thought he had hacked off grew back.  Bridget, realizing the trick, used her Green Flame Blade, burning the hydra and dealing lethal damage.  As the hydra died, the rain stopped falling, and a rainbow appeared on the corpse, heading north out of the reservoir.

They skinned the beast, and found a Gilled Shortsword it had eaten previously that still seemed pretty usable.  The party reflected on what it meant as they rested on the island.

Gilled Shortsword+1. When attuned to this item, you can breathe underwater for up to 5 minutes a day.

Glenn noted the island had yet another one of those glowing boxes they ran into in the sewers!

This box has a picture of bumble bees pollinating a Tamber-flower.  Marked in fae on the bottom of the box is the word ‘earthly’.

After a short rest, the party scaled the rock face, finding an easier time on the western shore.  Exploring the remainder of the forest, they found a third box nestled in the northeastern corner:

This box shows a princess, dolled up in pink on her coronation day. Marked in fae on the bottom of the box is the word ‘Worldly’.

Deciding that they ought to follow the rainbow, the party heads north out of the reservoir.

Daytown Crossroads Day
Daytown Crossroads Day

The party pushes north for several miles around a winding path and arrive at a crossroads.  To the north lies “Lion’s Guard”, whatever that means.  To the east lies Daytown, and to the west, The Mines.

Gladbaegol and Associates follow the rainbow to a cave with a stone arch.  There doesn’t appear to be much they can do with it, as it is protected with some magical boundary that shimmers blue.

As the party contemplates what to do, Leon takes a rare moment to Speak with Animals, asking a nearby bird if it has seen any more of these boxes.  The bird, surprisingly eloquent, gives general directions to each corner of the map.  To the southeast, Gwydgen approaches a wolf acting as a guard.  Given his fae nature, he approaches soothingly, and speaks with the creature, honoring it and its family.  The wolf is eased, and brings Gwydgen back to a fresh deer kill in the forest grove that a pack of wolves are chowing down on.  Gwydgen savages rips into the deer, and then moves on, grabbing a fourth box.  Examining it, he sees:

This box shows a rainbow, but two colors in particular shine with an almost otherworldly vibrancy, orange and violet.  Marked in fae on the bottom of the box is the word ‘aerial’.

Gwydgen returns to the group, and is now carrying four boxes haphazardly, they’re stacked twice as tall as he is.

The group heads to the southwest, and dodges bear traps before finding a deer trapped in a bear trap.  Glenn lets the little guy go, and beyond him is a fifth box.

This box is painted with a view of an evening sky, its sun has just begun to set.  As you look at the sun, it seems to shimmer and fade into a deep red.  Marked in fae on the bottom of the box is the word ‘Zenith’.

They shrug, and head over to the northwest corner, where they find the traveling merchant Gardernstern camping and enjoying a nice quiet evening.  He welcomes them in, and offers his current wares, though no one is able to afford anything just then, he warns of sentient trees northwest of their current position.

Gwydgen was in his element, and stepped forward, persuading the trees that he was no danger.  The trees, sensing his earlier kindnesses and wild nature, granted passage and Gwydgen picked up the sixth, and final box.

The final box shows a pastoral scene with a bright, shining yellow sun.  Marked in fae on the bottom of the box is the word ‘Horizon’.

The party puzzled the meaning of the boxes before
Glenn began to shake.  “Oh….Oh God!  Give me those boxes!” he shouted at Gwydgen.  Stuffed Sheep Collection

He placed Clancy in the box with the white sky and black stars and shut the lid.  It clicked, and became whole.  He placed Ostrick in the box with bumble bees.  Same reaction. Ferdinand went in the princess box, Lelya in the box with the evening sun, just about to set, Hildegard in the orange and violet rainbow box, and Cadbury in the box with the pastoral scene.  Rushing over to the cave with the magical shield dropped, he sees that what was before a stone arch has transformed into a glowing rainbow, with six ledges on them.  Bastine reminds him of the words on the base of the boxes, might it need a specific order to be placed in?

Glenn places the boxes marked Zenith and Apex on top, those marked Aerial and Horizon halfway down the arch, and those marked Earthly and Worldly on bottom.  The boxes melt into the rainbow, which shimmers brighter, impossibly bright.

Glenn, these sheep stuck with you as the party began to move towards Bridget’s leadership.  As you see the boxes become absorbed into the rainbow, you realize just how much they meant to you, and how small you feel with them gone.  How cold life is without them.  You watch in horror as you literally see yourself shrinking and becoming immobile. 

Your allies rush to your aid, and in this moment of smallness you begin to reflect on your treatment of those around you as they do everything they can to aid you.  The rain has stopped and the late afternoon sun shines brighter than you’ve ever seen it.  The warmth feels good, and your parade armor shines.  

You wake up.  Gain +2 wisdom.

Meanwhile…Brooks the player discovered this little figure on his doorstep, in a box marked with “To Glenn Gladbaegol”

2017-04-09