Setting the Scene
As night settles over Korvosa, the party gathers around the fireplace in Zellara’s home, not quite ready to head for bed after investigating the sunken ship. The warm glow from the fireside doesn’t quite touch the dark corners of the room and the damp of the river has seeped into everyone’s bones.
Majenko is off watching over the evidence room at the Citadel, but Ashla’s raccoon Badger is curled up on her lap. Reno is snoring on top of a tattered rug by the fire, serving as a warm, furry pillow for Egan to lean back against. Slim broods by the mantle, while Arlynn sits sharpening her sword and Zandu struggles to stay awake slumped in a chair by the corner.
The party has gone through a harrowing time these past few days and have a few Harrowing times to look forward to. But for the moment they are safe and have the opportunity to reflect on how far they’ve come and how much further they still have to go.
The Haunted Thief
Ionas found himself hovering over the fireplace mantle, gazing intently into the flames with weary eyes. Memories of the past bubbling forth not unlike the dark waters of the river earlier when they unearthed the horrors that had occurred in that cursed ship. Cheliax, he thought, I can’t seem to outrun you. No matter how far I run, no matter how dark the shadows I hide in are, you always find a way to wrap your tendrils around me. He looked down at the emerald medallion still around his neck. He gazed into the stone as if to peer into a crystal ball, his mind replaying the fateful night in Egorian that eventually brought him here. Her face and bright smile brushed this memory faintly before becoming engulfed by images of death and decay that had become all too familiar lately.
With his back still turned toward the fire, Ionas resumed his posture as ‘Slim’ as the party knew him, and said grimly, “This nightmare that has befallen Korvosa will only grow darker now that Cheliax is involved. I fear whatever comes out of this, we will carry it the rest of our lives, however short they may be.”
The Hungry Gnome
While resting on Reno’s back and getting mesmerized by the movement of the flames, Egan can feel his eyes getting heavier and more “dog-tired.” After hearing Slim’s comment, he sits up and gazes at him with a smirk, “Then we’ll just have to prepare ourselves more than ever now, don’t we, Lad?”
He hauls himself up from the floor and sluggishly walks to the kitchen, grabbing a chair along the way. Using the chair as a ladder, Egan climbs up to the counter to scavenge the cupboards for food.
The Dashing Rogue
Slim tucked the medallion back underneath his armor, and turned to face Egan who was now helping himself to the cupboards.
“If only it were that simple, little master of the forest,” Slim said with a grim smile, " there are powerful forces in Egorian the likes of which we couldn’t hope to face alone. Not without allies…"
His voice trails off as he recalls the dank and sweaty smell of the Sticky Mermaid and the privacy of its dark corners. Kyra, he mused, she would have the connections we need to fight this menace from the shadows…But the quarantine, someone knew that’s where we’d turn next. There must be a clue to all of this in Old Korvosa. Something someone doesn’t want us to see, and I know Kyra must know all about it, but first I need to get her out…
He looks at the group, “I’m going out for some fresh air and some answers to questions I have. Zandu, would you kindly accompany me?”
Without giving him time to answer, Slim grabs the drowsy sorcerer’s arm and heads out the front door, with a plan to make the most daring infiltration of his young career.
The Sword of the Inheritor
Arlynn barely noticed the two leave, her eyes focused on her longsword as she peered down its length, inspecting its sharpness. Not that a whetstone could do much to sharpen a mithril blade, but she found solace in the activity.
“The sword is a tool.” The solemn voice of Ser Demarq rang in her ears as if she were back on the practice grounds at the Crusader War College. “Without my heart to guide it, it is worthless—my strength is not in my sword, but in my heart. If I lose my sword, I have lost a tool. If I betray my heart, I have died.”
As she held out the weapon, Arlynn felt a wave of disgust at the thought that her family once held the title of First Sword of the Bekyars, marking a time when House Farima’s battle prowess received the highest respect for their contributions to the slave raids. As little children, Arlynn and her sibilings would even pretend to be slave raiders.
She shuddered even more as her thoughts turned to Keris, her older sister. Keris who had reveled in the tales of those glory days and felt no compassion for the weak.
Arlynn recalled a time of weakness in her life. Her blossoming idealism had clashed with Keris’ cruelty on the sparring grounds, but Keris won every time. Each defeat ingrained a sense of shame and weakness into the young idealist girl.
These fears of weakness were evermore amplified on the day that Keris betrayed the family to the Master of Whips. Amidst the chaos, Arlynn could not protect her mother from the slave lords’ wrath. She was too young then and not as adept at the sword as Keris.
That treachery had driven her family into exile in the strange northern continent of Avistan. Just when things seemed as if they could get no worse Arlynn was captured by the very slavers that had once praised her and the Farima Family. She was sold to the dastardly Gaedren Lamm, who set about making her into one of his Little Lambs. Arlynn had almost abandoned her idealism and faith in herself.
It took Iomedae’s intervention through one of her paladins to free the young girl from her captor. The rescue had inflamed a passion within Arlynn to prove herself and repay the kindness with devotion to the Inheritor’s holy cause.
In the years since then, the goddess had bestowed many blessings upon Ser Arlynn to aid her in her duties. Rather than work against her, now her selfless thoughts manifested through channeling the goddesses power. But the past was once again catching up with her. Keris was here, somewhere, and a confrontation was inevitable. Despite the years of training, Arlynn worried whether she could defeat her sister should they cross blades again. Would Iomedae grant her the strength to succeed? Or would the goddess realize what a flawed vessel her servant truly was?
“My strength is not in my sword, but in my heart,” Arlynn murmured. “If I betray my heart, I have died.”