Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Ballad of the Pigeon God #50: The Curse of Amber

Our heroes have been declared dead by a nefarious King, and marked for death if they prove him wrong.  While they ponder a course of action, they have decided it wise to take a job in far-off Nouvelle Avennio.  Their patron only wants them to resurrect her son....

Talis Makolin: Knight of the Pigeon, Bard, Lover Extraordinaire.  Half-Brother to Echelon.
Echelon:  Cleric of the Eastern God of the Sea, Pigeon Aficionado, ex-Baron.
Mellandria:  Magic-User, ex-Baronial Scribe, tinkering in the arts of alchemical resurrection.
Velandro:  Pious priest of Akana. 
Dimitri Kobblecroft: Gnome Cleric and Conspiracy Theorist from Masgoth who also knew the King of Crosedes was the infamous Dread Lord.

4 Undec 1072  - Golgonoza, Principality of Appresca
Upon the ship's arrival in Appresca, Echelon, Dimitri, and Velandro were forced to register as clerics and per the laws of the land, their spell use was greatly curtailed.  Their patron's representative, Petit Singh, reinforced the punishment for unauthorized divine spell use:  Death.

12 Undec 1072 - Estate of Genevieve de Sephora, Principality of Nouvelle Avennio
They finally arrived at the Palace of Genevieve de Sephora.

There was a huge gathering taking place.  Petit-Singh informed everyone that there was a wedding between Andre David Ambra and Magdelina de Sephora.  Dozens of members of the de Sephora family had arrived for the nuptials. 

Singh threw fine silken clothing at the heroes:  for now, they were to be "hired" as extra waiters for the celebration, and they were quickly shown the servants quarter. 

13 Undec 1072 - Estate of Genevieve de Sephora, Principality of Nouvelle Avennio
The next day, they joined the rest off the staff to clean the house for the party

"This was really most undignified!"  - Talis Makolin

In the afternoon, they finally met Antian's mother, the Lady Genevieve de Sephora, and she explained that her son was presumed dead after using a "Doomsday Spell" to defeat an enemy army in war.  She explained that prophecy said there those who were bathed in gold from the heavens would bring him back, and Petit-Singh watching them escape the grain explosion in dazzling sunlight was not coincidental.  Once the wedding was over, more time could be dedicated to bringing Antian back.

After an evening of more servant preparation for the wedding, they staggered back to their rooms and collapsed. 

That night they all found themselves together in the same dream.  They found themselves looking at a boy studying in a library.  They quickly discovered that he was Antian (although as a child).  They parlayed with him and asked him if he wanted to return with them.  At that point his 'father" arrived, turned into an ogre and attacked us.  After great effort, they managed to kill it.

The scene transformed into a wooded glade and everyone (including young Antian) were met by a Unicorn.  The mythical beast spoke telepathically to them and the told them that they were reliving some of Antian's' memories (He saw his strict father as an ogre) and that they were to urge him to do the right thing and correct his mistakes.)

Then they woke up.

14 Undec 1072 - Estate of Genevieve de Sephora, Principality of Nouvelle Avennio
At one of the pre-wedding soirees, Talis decided to let those better suited to manual labor do the less complicated work (like Echelon and Dimitri)  While they slaved away serving food, drinks, and cooking in the kitchen, Talis donned his outrageous hat and went about the arduous task of pumping the partygoers for information. He was forced to endure a night of drinking and card playing, only with the occasional interruption to dance with a number of beautiful, rich women.  One striking woman in particular, a Viscountess, seemed to have vital information, so they retired to private quarters to "exchange it."

Every moment must have been so painful for him.

Meanwhile, Echelon had been approached by a woman and told to meet her upstairs because she had information on how to bring Antian back.  When he and the other four heroes managed a second to get away, they found her in her room, encased in amber, and was quite dead.  They wisely stepped back out of the room, wiped the door handle, and quietly left undetected.

That night, all five heroes found themselves in the midst of a great battle.  Everyone was clad in full armor, holding lances, swords, and shields, and astride war horses with barding.  Antian was a mid-teen now and was coming under attack.  The entire party tried to get to him.

Talis spotted Antian's father, isolated and under heavy attack.  He quickly realized that the father was going to die, so he rode to him, skillfully using his lance to fell any of the enemy foolish enough to stand in my way.

Unfortunately, it appeared that they could not change Antian's memories too drastically, because he could not reach the father before he was fatally struck down.

Reinforcements arrived to drive much of the enemy off.  Talis tried to get Echelon, Velandro, or Dimitri to heal Antian's father, but it was too late.

The army's general approached Antian and told him that the young prince (Antian) was in charge. With the enemy scattered, the general advised Antian that the army was poised to attack the city and kill every last man, woman ,and child.  Antian was about to give the order it when our heroes  intervened, convincing him to show mercy.

The "General" (a copper bearded man) threatened us and rode off...

Then they woke up. 

17 NonDec 1071 - Chateau d'Echelon, Barony of Eding, Kingdom of Crosedes *FLASHBACK*
Winter was coming.  The window seat at the end of the second story hall showed snowflakes were dancing down to earth as the frost creeped out from the window frame.  This was not a normal sitting spot for Mohammad, mentor of Echelon and cleric of Tshang Kai Ching.  The legless priest had previously called down the divine power from the heavens to save his friends, and this power surge had turned him agoraphobic, spending his days in the close confines of a broom closet, communing with his god.

But today, staring into the abyss of the outside sounded like a good idea.  He worried about a great number of events that had transpired since he had been reunited with his last protégé.

But not so worried that he didn't grab an extra blanket for the window seat.  That window was drafty after all.

Marching up the stairs at the opposite end of the hall was a small dog-man, wearing an oversized helm and a tunic emblazoned with the symbol of Akana, the god of law and order.

The kobold stopped and stared a moment at the Mohammad.
"Hello Master Mo!  Why you out today?"

"Good afternoon, Brother Dag.  I stare at the sun like others stare into darkness.  I do not fear it, I only wish to comprehend a greater understanding."

The kobold tilted his head, confused, "Okay!  Hey, you wanna know Velandro's big big secret for me?"

The guru laughed, "Sure, Brother Dag, I promise to maintain your vow of secrecy."

"Velandro going far away to find Count Zabty and have him kill mean King.  I get to be high priest of home! "

"How are you going to be a high priest, my friend, you are but an acolyte of your faith?"

"Velandro says I must show the true virtues of Akana.  That means I must stay and guard the home!"

"But Dag, your faith calls for not just an adherence of true law, order, and justice, but an expansion.  Sitting here at the Chateau would maintain order here, but that just means the chaos will swirl around our borders.  Ask yourself this, young Dag.  Does Akana wish you to hide here in safety, or spread law and order where it is foreign?"

The little kobold was puzzled.  His brow furrowed as he thought for many minutes. 

"Dag needs to find new friends of Akana.  Make new friends of Akana, to help us.  I know people who need Akana.  We leave tomorrow.  Thanks Master Mo!"

The kobold scampered back down the stairs to find his wife and children, and tell them Velandro's new mission for them.

Mohammad gave a faint smile and turned back towards the window.  His stoic demeanor was tempered by a song he soon muttered from his lips.

"Looking out my window
Looking at the snow 
Nothing left but pain
Why'd you leave me and go
Sad alone and blue
Looking out my window woman
Tryin' to find your friend
Why did you all leave me?
When we're so close to the end?"

Next: #51 The Mark of Amber

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