My squires seem to be getting along well. I hope they received their badges. Oh no, Madam Adastra’s going to… ahh, well, that’s normal. The late Madam Leto has been idolized? Madam Leto would have hated that when she was alive. (I think.) Am I writing this before the events have happened or after? Time is confusing.
Krawl Angelbane wakes up, feeling groggy, for the last time in his page barracks. He doesn’t look too much like an orc; really, he’s just a big, scary human. Perhaps it’s his name that gives him his reputation. If he changed his last name to “Cooper” or “Smith,” he likely wouldn’t have so many issues in life. Krawl knows he’s late, he missed something. He finds Sage Ekriet outside, who takes him to Sir Rayo’s chambers at the top of the tower.
Sir Rayo inherited the old Grand Master’s chambers after the new central tower was constructed. His room is a large, circular affair with legless furniture floating off the ground. I can’t see it, but I’ve been there. Sir Rayo hands Krawl his new squire badge, congratulates him, and Krawl seems nonchalant. Krawl is either brash or confident. Sir Rayo tells Krawl to go join his fellow squires, down in the dungeons. (Sir Rayo thinks he is being funny, implying that Krawl’s teammates are already in the dungeons. Krawl either doesn’t get it or doesn’t think it’s funny. Later, Sir Rayo will wish that his funny comment had been better timed.)
Krawl meets my squires and waves to me inside my small, spherical prison. He gives them their badges. I say hello. I think I’ll say hello again later.
Dorathy, Krawl, and Charlie go find the page, Vlak, in his barracks (block 2B). Vlak is frightened by their intense manners, but tells them everything they need to know. They have to pry in order to get him to talk about Scale Row. Vlak was born there and grew up there. He’s fearful of telling people who are yelling and scary to go check out his home.
My squires decide to go see the cat-seller. Hopefully they won’t run into the shadow cat.
Madam Adastra. I knew that her serpent, Gilkomis, would die. I also knew that, if I told her that he was going to die, she would keep him alive, and lose seven more of her dragons trying to do so. But she didn’t want to hear that either. Sometimes it’s best just to let Ada be angry.
Adastra scolds the squires for relying on me too much for stupid things. I hsve mixed thoughts about this. I know why she says this, but I’ve been the diviner for over 200 knights and squires out on mission so far. Surely I can do the same thing for my own 6 squires.
Hezk the Cat-Seller is located in a dark alley, behind Big Nose Tavern and across from a butcher’s. My squires mentally rough him up quite a bit. They yell a lot (Hezk doesn’t like that). They buy some things, but then Dorathy releases a herd of damaged goods. I question her motives. I think the shadow left.
Hezk is sobbing, freaking out. Vannah comforts him outside, getting information. The squires tip him kindly and Galdor puts things back in order. Some of them feel bad for disrupting this man’s life. Others (Dorathy) are less friendly.
Of course, the slaughter and disection of numerous cats could throw any woman over the edge. Maybe even Dorathy has a bit of compassion in her. (That’s not why I chose her, though! I hope this trend doesn’t continue.)
Stonegate is a gambling hall made almost entirely out of warped stone in the shape of a long-house. Demetrios built it himself. His bouncer, a squinty-eyed man named Mawz, collects 2 gold from everyone. He’s very scripted and doesn’t think fast. Galdor and Galdor stay outside to look around.
There are almost 20 people in the gambling hall. Among them, Garkuuk, Yugek, and Thainor. They only know about Garkuuk right now, so they focus on him. (Except Vannah, who walks right up to the bartender, orders a glass of mead, and then asks the bartender if he knows about the Golds. Everybody inside the hall hears this. Garkuuk immediately begins to under-estimate his opponents, because they are obviously un-observant morons. Hey! Those are my squires he’s mentally insulting! It’s okay, Garkuuk will get his just desserts.)
Thainor shoots a dart at Charlie! No, wait, that comes later.
Galdor is outside, checking the perimeter. He finds two divining runes and a permanency rune. The divining rune doesn’t do what he thinks it does. No, it lets Demetrios know whenever somebody is snooping around. Ahh, now Demetrios knows that Galdor is snooping around! I need to pay attention. I might have warned them. But then they would have done things differently, and that wouldn’t have helped at all.
Demetrios confronts Galdor. Galdor peacocks out, puffs up his chest, and quotes the law. Demetrios is unphased. Of course, how is Galdor to know that Demetrios is one of the top lieutenants in the Chainbreakers and has been evading Helix arrest for years now? (I could have told him! Damn divining. They should call this sort of magic “Hindsight is foresight,” except, in my case, it feels more like foresight is hindsight.) Galdor continues his investigation with the stone Demetrios watching.
Charlie confronts Garkuuk. They size each other up. Garkuuk still thinks they’re idiots. (He’s right, but they are well-trained idiots.)
Demetrios comes inside and stands behind Krawl. The situation is all very intense. Morgan stands up. Vannah moves closer.
20 seconds later, the Stonegate gambling hall has caved in, Demetrios is dust, and everybody is inside the Gold’s caves. Galdor followed Yugek inside, but loses him in the darkness. (If Galdor had taken a right turn, he would have run into the rest of the squires. Oh well.)
Everyone else is following Garkuuk. Dorathy killed a kobold named Bauq in a single swing. All of the other kobolds ran, but Dorathy is after Garkuuk, who is running, invisible, through the kobold caverns. It’s tough going for a little while, but Dorathy shines as a tracker.
Meanwhile, Thainor is waking up outside. He was slammed by Galdor’s Galdor when Stonegate was collapsing. Thainor slinks off into the darkness before authorities arrive. It’s fine. He’ll be arrested for fencing illegal goods in four days.
Garkuuk is followed into the Crypt, where Demetrios and Ahrk are waiting. The crypt was built under Madam Leto’s grave, and her coffin was turned into a trap door leading down into the catacombs.
This is the real Demetrios. He’s wearing the broken manacles that denote him a proud member of the Chainbreakers.
Ahrk is the crypt-keeper. He’s creepy, and strong (especially in his domain). It’s good that the squires did not press the attack. They could have killed Garkuuk, but they would have spent the next 4-18 years serving as undead under Ahrk. Demetrios likely would not have fought, one way or the other.
Demetrios splits the group, singling off Vannah and Pigeonfoot. Vannah finds out that, in the next room, is the figure of their worship, and that the Golds will refrain from fighting in the crypt, if at all possible. (Garkuuk took a crossbow bolt to prove the point. A few hours later, he’ll tell another kobold who is tending to his wounds that he should have scorching rayed that bastard with the crossbow.) Vannah makes a good decision and takes the stairs. Demetrios reshapes the wall, letting everyone take the stairs. They exit the crypt, emerging at the Cemetery of Knights.
Ahh, they’re in front of Madam Leto’s grave-marker. It looks like she’s the abomination that is leading the Golds, even though she supposedly died. According to Ahrk, her organs kept her alive even after she died.
Where is the third golden kobold? I can’t see him.
The squires meet up again. Galdor’s Galdor turns into a horse. Everyone fills Galdor in on what he missed. The squires, tired and running low on resources, call it a night. They return to the tower and talk to me.
I’ve drawn the curtains on my sight, which seems to surprise some and make sense to others. It’s as if they think that I don’t sleep! (Which is starting to become true, what with the nightmares and other things invading my sleep recently. Divination is such a difficult tool to turn off.)
They keep the gold, the prism, and their badges (Their badges! They got them, right?). They enjoy a few drinks at the nearby alehouses, then resign for the night in their new rooms.
I’m hoping Madam Adastra’s calmed down by tomorrow. The last time a serpent of hers died, she went on about it for weeks. Ivozea is scarce when Ada’s mad. I think Ivozea is afraid of her. Tomorrow, I think, my squires will be doing some digging.
Hopefully Demetrios won’t be around when they start digging. It’s dangerous to dig with him around.