AoA 12: Session Intros 71-78

[Author’s note: What are these “AoA” tags? Check out this post to know why I’m writing these and why they don’t have anything to do with superheroes. After writing only the occasional cut-scene, I decided to do a quick narrative before every Pathfinder session instead of a recap. We already had someone in the group writing recaps, so mine felt redundant, and there were too many opportunities for fiction writing that I was letting pass me by. Below are a collection of intros from our sessions. I don’t love using present tense, but it’s what fits best into these tabletop roleplaying sessions.]

Session 71: Jaggaki’s Revenge

Sun is finally beginning to break through the days of cloud cover overhead, and it shines down upon the Summershade Granite Quarry. There, atop the quarry’s ridge, we see Leilani Greyara standing quietly, almost as if in meditation. Near her, Obedience Fletcher nocks another arrow in his shortbow while Sabine Sterling banks through the air on silver wings. Both Obe and Sabine look down, and the camera follows their gaze to a cave entrance seventy feet below.

There we see Margaret, her platemail gleaming in the sunlight, with shield raised and sword drawn. The ratfolk warrior stands on a ledge across from Coxsackie, swinging his thundering mace with a wild grin. Between them, skeletal, undead stone giants push past the shredded corpse of a rotting bear and crowd the entrance. One giant has fallen and reaches up to Coxsackie with a single, clawed hand.

The camera moves into the cave, past the skeletal hulks and into the darkened interior. The scene slows dramatically as a figure strides into view.

He is taller than the other giants, a perfect skeleton of dark gray bones wrapped in a brown, hooded robe. In the darkness, his eye sockets glow faintly with a pale blue light. His leering skull takes in the scene as he raises a skeletal hand to the bright cave entrance.

“Thieves! You cannot have the secrets of Minderhal’s Shrine! Begone from this place, desecrators!”

Session 72: The Great Escape

Two clear voices, one a male bass and the other a female soprano, speak as one.

“Calm yourself, Jethro. I know it is difficult to watch and yet be unable to act. And doubly difficult, I suspect, to see your killer gain the upper hand. Come. Stand with me. Close your eyes if you must.

“These next moments are critical. Hunting the lich was borne out of revenge from your friends and aligned with Leilani’s mission. Now that the necromancer hunter has fallen, will their resolve fall away as well?

“Can you feel it, Jethro? Can you feel the other gods step backwards? These moments are for Pharasma alone, and all bow to her will. The Lady of Graves is also the Lady of Mysteries, and none can know her final judgment. But there she is, leaning close. Bearing witness, just as we are. How will she judge these souls?”   

Session 73: Jaggaki Strikes! …and Falls

[player-written intro]

Session 74: The Quarry Aftermath

We see an aerial view, camera circling your campsite.

In the predawn darkness we see oily, black tentacles crawling over a wide area. They scatter your belongings and the embers of your campfire, frantically searching for something living to grab and crush. The flopping, writhing tentacles are one of only two sounds.

The other is a jaunty humming. Coxsackie, last of the Scuttlestouts and naked as the day he was born, raises his voice in a magical song that soothes Margaret Arodeni from unconsciousness. The ratfolk paladin gasps and looks around with eyes as black as night. She is once again blind, unable to see the ravaged forms of dead stone giants on either side of her.

Sabine Sterling strides across landscape that is frozen, churned, and blasted to examine Leilani Greyara. Sabine steps back, recoiling from the sight as the necromancer hunter appears dead and rotting.

And, standing twenty feet from Leilani’s corpse, back to everything and everyone else, is Obedience Fletcher. The goblin looks down impassively, his hands flexing into fists and then relaxing almost rhythmically as he stares down at the broken bones of the lich Jaggaki.

Session 75: Welcome to Whiterock

The tall grass near the dock rustles, and a human girl of perhaps ten years old darts out. She wears a simple, shapeless green dress and only one sandal. Her thin brown hair is braided on one side and free on the other, and she is breathing hard. Her wide, wild eyes fasten on the modest riverboat at dock.

She hisses in a sharp whisper. “Why are you here? Go! Before it’s too late! The giant!”

Captain Coke has been slowly chewing a piece of grass he’s pulled from the riverbank. He loudly spits it into the lazy current.

“Now, now,” the halfling answers. “I brought some people who should take care of that giant.”

“It’s not just him, though,” the girl has gotten closer, her head whipping around to look behind her constantly. “There’s others too!”

“Well, I suspect they’ll take care of them too, lass. Where’s your parents?”

The girl looks down. “I was getting dressed and my ma–” She stops speaking, petrified for several moments as she stares at her one shoe. When she finally looks up her lip is trembling. “I don’t think they made it. They– I saw. They didn’t make it.”

Coke grunts and levels a hard stare at the waif of a girl.

“You got someplace to go, then?”

She sniffles and shakes her head almost imperceptibly.

“Get in the boat. If the people I brought come back, it means vengeance for your parents and we’ll go to Kintargo. If we see one of the others, we’ll shove off and get away.”

Without hesitation the girl jumps into the boat, getting as far to one side as she can away from the shore. She pulls her knees up to her chin and hugs them tightly.

Captain Coke rocks the boat as he moves to get a blanket and rest it next to the girl. He then pauses and pulls another long blade of grass that’s protruding from the water.

Settling back in his seat, he begins to rip the grass slowly, methodically into pieces, fold them, and tuck them into his mouth. The girl watches him silently with wide eyes.

“I don’t mean to scare you, mind, but how did you know I wasn’t with the giant and the rest of that crew?”

The girl pulls her knees closer, seeming to fold in on herself.

“You’d know if you saw them,” she says in the barest of whispers.

Session 76: Laslunn and the Interlocutor

[Notes on Laslunn’s dialogue with the party at the start of the session]

[hyena laughter]

“So. You’ve finally done it. You’ve killed us all and come for me. Your organization is quite impressive. Quite… thorough.”

“But I find myself asking the same question, day after day, night after night: Why? For what reason do you assassins hunt us and spill our blood? So if you would do me the courtesy before we must inevitably fight, I would ask you: Why?”

“Oh I’ve heard of you, little goblin in a suit, who sneaks through the shadows, sometimes invisible, and tears out our throats. Like a tiger in the jungle, eh?” [laugh]

“I’ve heard of you as well, the singing goblin. Master of disguise and deception, with his mighty thunderous mace!” [laugh]

“The rest of you are new to me, I admit. I do not know you.”

“Ideals? Morals? Where I come from slavery is quite legal, and our government turns a blind eye when we bring shipments from other lands, not asking how they came to be there. I was born into a small gnoll tribe in western Katapesh. Very poor. Very savage. I survived because I waited. I watched. I planned. And, eventually, I built a craft. Slavery is that craft. It is my business. So to hear that you have done all of this, just to thwart the very essence of my business dealings? For no professional gain? Well. You’ll pardon me but that sounds insane. Would that I hunt you in the night and slit your throat because you wore the wrong color… that is how it sounds to me.”

Session 77: Goodbye Aadrushian. Hello, Kintargo.

In a hand both calloused and scarred, Obedience Fletcher holds a large, black gem. The Eye of the Wise, an aiudara key and ancient elven artifact, pulled from Laslunn’s empty armor.

No doubt in the coming days the spellcasters of the group will uncover its secrets and abilities, and no doubt the very presence of the Eye will mean yet another journey into incalculable danger. Voz Lirayne is still out there. The Scarlet Triad is still out there. If Jethro’s dreams can be believed, the threat of Dahak is still out there.

There’s probably even more danger than that, Obedience thinks grimly… and the deeper he finds himself in this complicated web of dangers, it all seems less and less like the grand stories he was read as a child, and much more horrible. Much more tragic.

He looks around the small room in the Jhaltero manor at his companions. Coxsackie, grinning and sifting through Laslunn’s possessions. The ratfolk Margaret, blood-spattered but still gleaming in her shining platemail. Leilani, smelling like a half-buried corpse and with that freaky-voiced dragon on her shoulder. And behind them all, a large, gleaming, honest-to-Erastil silver dragon. Four companions and himself, same as always. But what a different group.

Obe sighs.

[When they arrive in Kintargo…]

Captain Coke nods to the party.

“Before you go, I wanted to tell you that the Bellflower Network here in Ravounel thanks you for what you’ve done. You’ve saved a number of people and put down a threat we were struggling to handle ourselves.

“But,” he continues. “You also cost us Nolly Peltry.” For a moment he can’t go on, struggling with tears. Eventually he clears his throat. “I’ve watched you lot closely since then. And if you don’t mind my saying, you seemed more interested in revenge and killing these villains than actually trying to save as many people as you could. I suspect a lot more would be alive, both at the quarry and here in Whiterock if you’d shifted your focus to protecting the innocents.” He spits into the river.

“Again, we’re thankful for what you’ve done, but we don’t much like how you’ve done it. Good luck to you, but you won’t be hearing from us again.”

And with that, he shoves off from the pier and heads on down the river.

***

Back at Castle Kintargo, an escort brings you back to the now-familiar office of Vors Eivensor, Captain of the Kintargo City Watch. As you pass into the room, the relief on his face of seeing the two goblins is evident.

“You really have survived. Thank the gods. I don’t mind telling you that there were quite a few rumors flying around about what happened to you lot. So what did happen?”

[party explanation]

“That fits more with my expectations. When a riverboat carrying survivors showed up, wouldn’t you know it but Boblin was there. He’s claiming that he put down the threat all on his own and saved those people, and that you lot had died. His popularity’s never been higher, and it’s giving me no end of headaches. I had to give the fucker a medal to make him go away.”

“Well, now that I know the truth, I suspect the Silver Council will want a word with you. Will you be staying a day or two here in Kintargo?”

“Excellent. I’ll send someone to get you when it can be arranged. Enjoy the city, and try not to get arrested or killed, eh? I’m glad you made it, Mr. Fletcher and the lot of you. I truly am.”

***

[Obedience 1:1 role-play scene]

We are in the embassy of Nidal, where Obedience Fletcher has been before, and the goblin is sitting in a waiting room. The architecture here is dramatically gothic, dark wood that seems to suck up the light, and intricate details everywhere. The longer you look at the décor, the more you see it contains lots of creepy-but-subtle gargoyle and monster imagery everywhere.

The door opens and Halleka Shadeborn enters, a bright smile on his young, thin face and a bundle of cloth in one hand. He gives Obedience an awkward hug immediately.

“Thank you so much for coming. It is good to see you! Thank you. Thank you for visiting. Why has it been so long? How have you been, Obedience?”

“We are heading back to Nidal, but the delegates believe the negotiations vent quite well. They were near disaster, but the news you brought of someone setting the people’s sentiment in Kintargo against Nidal changed everything.”

“Unfortunately,” and he clenches his free hand into a fist. “They still do not see the wisdom of the veltrac. They could provide such order to this wild land. I will return and continue to plead my case.”

“The Umbral Court themselves have sent word of praise to you. This is a great honor, you must understand. They cannot outwardly show you too much attention, or they say it might bring suspicion on you somehow being agents of Nidal. But, they have asked me to give these gifts…”

[He gives Obe the Fearsome rune stone and Coxsackie the potions of Retaliation.]

“You are a good friend, Obedience. I am glad to have met you. Please, come visit Nidal sometime, ya? Your friends are welcome as well. There you can see what true LAW AND ORDER looks like, and perhaps we can even witness the effects of the velstrac together! Show these wild lands what is possible!”

“Well, good luck to you, friend.”

Halleka again awkwardly hugs you, and we fade out.

***

[Sabine 1:1 roleplay scene]

We are in the austere waiting room of Lady Mialani Docur, who sits in scandalously tight breeches with her legs crossed at the knee. Across from her in a high-backed wooden chair is Sabine Sterling.

“I was sorry to hear about your sister,” she says, sipping tea. “Tell me, did the rest of the party ever discover that she was a she? It seemed they did not know, even though I thought it was quite evident.”

“I must confess, it ruins the offer I had planned for her, to stay and study at this school. She seemed quite eager to do so, and I would have enjoyed seeing what she would both learn and teach. And now you are here and I cannot make the same offer. We only train half-elves, as you know. Alas.”

“I do not know you, Sabine Sterling, so I will ask you the same question I asked the others when I first met them. Why are you here? Why stay on this path that has already killed your sister and threatens your life every day?”

“Ahhhh, quite a mystery you are. Perhaps I can help you after all.”

She tinkles a little bell and a well-dressed, attractive half-elven woman arrives, the same woman who had let you into the school. She hands Lady Docur a small box.

“Thank you Arlethi.”

“I see that you too are a spellcaster, yes? Perhaps the gift I had planned to entice your sister to join us can still be put to good use.”

[Lady Docur offers small box to Sabine – Ring of Wizardry III with school’s logo on it.]

“Use it for good in the world, eh? Even if a Sterling is not officially part of Lady Docur’s school, it does not mean our influence cannot spread.”

A bell tinkles in another room. “Ah, I am sorry. Duty calls me to another meeting. Good luck to you, Lady Sterling. If you ever find yourself again in Kintargo, do drop by to say hello.”

As Sabine stands to leave, we fade out.

***

[Leilani 1:1 roleplay scene]

Leilani Greyara has decided to take a night walk in the city of Kintargo. Maybe you didn’t actually get a chance to visit the Silver City as you were tracking Jaggaki, so this is your chance to look around.

So you’re strolling through the streets, still vibrant after dark. Again, think of the energy of a new nation within a couple years of its freedom from tyranny. There is music and laughing behind closed doors, still audible in the streets. Couples walk hand in hand, huddled together on the cool spring night.

As you pass in front of a building, a voice hails you. Actually, it’s two voices–one of a deep bass male and one of a clear female soprano–speaking together in harmony.

“Leilani Greyara. Might I have a word?”

You turn and, standing in an outdoor stairwell is an angel. They are tall, dark-skinned and hairless, with eyes of the glowing light of dawn. The angel wears bright orange robes, and their wings are a vibrant orange and red, almost fluorescent.

“My name is Chioma. It is an honor to meet you finally. There are precious few of your kind, and I admit this is my first time speaking with one.”

“I am curious, Leilani. What will you do now? Where will your feet take you from here, duskwalker?”

“You serve the Lady of Mysteries, of course. I am but a singer in Sarenrae’s chorus, here to lend my voice so that it might move others towards love, kindness, patience, and redemption. I cannot tell you your fate or what path to walk.

“But if I may, in my observation there is a divine hand that brought you to these people. That you arrived just as the light of Jethro Vermillion had been extinguished feels beyond the realm of chance. Perhaps Pharasma sees what Jethro saw so clearly, that an Age of Ashes is threatening this world. Perhaps she sees a role you might yet play.”

“Well, think on it. Allow these people into your heart. Sometimes it is better to walk a path together than alone. Surely your time at the quarry made this lesson clear.”

“Regardless of your decision, I have a gift.” Chioma reaches back to one of their wings and when their hand appears again it is holding two fluorescent feathers. “I know that you do not wield weapons in combat, nor are you specifically in a fight against Evil. Perhaps you will find a use for these, perhaps you will find someone worthy to use them, or perhaps you will find profit from selling them. As with all things, the choice is yours.”

The feathers are hot to the touch.

“May your Lady watch over you, Leilani Greyara. May you find peace in this life and the next.”

“’Scuse me!” someone barks at you from behind. It’s an older man, obviously irritated, squinting up at you on the stairs. “You gonna just stand there or can I get through?”

The man pushes past you, past the empty space where Chioma had been moments before, and into the building beyond. You are alone on the stairway, in darkness. As your eyes travel up, you see that the building is a mortuary. And we fade out.

***

[Margaret 1:1 roleplay scene]

We find Margaret asleep in her room at the inn. Her armor and sword are neatly arranged next to her bed, and without them she looks tiny in the covers as she tosses and turns. The cat Lymi sits curled at the foot of the bed, a black lump in the night.

Margaret gasps loudly, waking Leilani. Lymi raises her yellow eyes and stares at the paladin. Margaret’s own eyes open wide in the darkness. To Margaret, bees begin to fly within the room, some crawling along the curtains, some landing on the bed, some just making lazy circles in the air. The sound in the room begins to distort, echoing like it’s a much smaller space, and we hear water sloshing and moving around.

“Well well. My dearest Margaret. You have been up to quite a lot, haven’t you? New adventures and new friends. Tell me: What do you make of these friends you’ve found?”

“I was right to choose you, Margaret. How you stood toe to toe with that fiend, trading blows! So fierce. So brave. You are delightful in every way, my dearest Margaret. I could not have wished for better.”

“Remember, my dear Margaret: I have given you all of this for one moment. One moment when you can be my hand in vengeance. In the name of love. Can you feel it approaching? Can you feel us getting closer to that moment? Closer to each other? One thing leads to the next and our paths are intertwined, my shining paladin. Our moment together is not imminent. But it draws ever closer. And these new friends will help you find your way to Breachill and then you’ll find your way to me.”

“Ah, ah. It is too soon for another question. Now is not the time.”

“Well, I merely wanted to check in on you, my dear Margaret. It has been too long, and so much has happened with you since we last spoke. I do fear that you will forget about me if I don’t remind you from time to time.”

“Oh! Silly, silly me. I had almost forgotten. I bring to you a gift. Something like Lymi, to ensure you never forget I’m there with you, my dear Margaret, always and forever. Iomedae is your deity, dear Margaret, but always remember that I hold your soul. Sweet dreams, my fierce little paladin…”

Margaret blinks, and the bees and water sounds fade, the room returning to normal. Lymi puts her head down and curls up back to sleep.

[dialogue between Margaret and Leilani]

And you, Margaret, feel something in your hand. You open it to find a pink stone, shaped sort of like a parallelogram.  

And we fade out.

***

[session end]

You find yourselves in a section of Castle Kintargo where none of you have previously been. It is almost entirely the silver-threaded white marble that is the city’s signature, and incredibly lavish. Wide pillars reach up to high ceilings in this open-aired hall. You can imagine great crowds gathering here for formal gatherings or matters of state.

Yet today the great hall is empty except for you five, a smattering of guards, a few attendants, and seven well-dressed nobles. These are the Silver Council, a group of Kintargan noble houses and power brokers who now rule the new country of Ravounel.

At their head is a human woman with pale skin and dark hair in an elaborate robe. Though she looks to be in her late 30s or early 40s and attractive, her wise eyes make her appear as if they belong to someone much, much older.

“I am Domina Jilia Bainilus. My understanding is that you have waited in the city until we could become available and would otherwise be on your way back to Isger. We appreciate you pausing your long journey home to speak with us.”

“Though we have never met, it seems the entire nation of Ravounel is in your debt. Captain Eivensor has explained your thwarting of a budding slaver ring beneath our very noses within the Silver City and beyond. Further, he has handed over the notes of both the wizard Barushak il-Varashma and the slaver Laslunn. These notes outline a plot not only to take our citizenry, but to sow discord between us and our neighbor nation of Nidal. The Captain takes no credit whatsoever for these slavers’ defeat, nor the mended reputation of our Nidalese delegates. He says these are due to you and you alone. Is this true?”

“And why, may I ask, have you done these things?”

“We thank you. We are still recovering from our liberation from Cheliax, both emotionally and financially. I wish that we could give our thanks in more meaningful material ways. As it stands, we hope this token will aid you on the roads to Isger.”

On cue, two men in livery who had been standing behind the Silver Council step around and forward, placing a heavy chest at your feet.

“Ten thousand Kintargan silver pieces. You’ll pardon the symbolism. Gold would have been easier to carry, but we are the Silver City after all.” Those old-soul eyes crinkle at the edges. “In any case, our nation thanks you.”

And she and the other members of the Silver Council bow.

Session 78: End of Book 3

As you get within a mile or so of where you know the bend of the road takes you to Cypress Point, you begin to see the birds. Black ravens and white seagulls. They fill the sky, circling in a wide column.

When you arrive, their cawing is ever-present, mixing with the steady waves pounding the coastline. And as you wander into the town, you begin to see the bodies. Men, women, children – all of them curled into a ball as if protecting their stomachs.

It seems whatever poison the Scarlet Triad introduced into the water system had a delayed onset, but then acted quite quickly. Those of you trained in Medicine deduce that these people were likely walking along when they were struck by severe abdominal pain, followed quickly by death. There are a couple of living people as well. Scavengers, just like the birds. They’re picking through the homes and corpses, looking for loot.

***

The party steps through the portal to Breachill. Fade to black.

[Book 3 Epilogue]

We fade into the sound of dirt crunching under two pairs of boots.

“I didn’t join the Kintargo City Watch to travel three fucking days out into the middle of fucking nowhere, I can tell you that. The Silver City is the greatest fucking city in the world. What are we doing out here in the fucking country?”

“For the love of Desna shut up. I’ve had to listen to your filthy mouth complaining for three days. I should get hazard pay. Captain Eivensor sent us here to see if there were any survivors and to make sure there’s no threat to the city. How many times do I have to say it?”

“Just a weird fucking task for a City Watchman, right? Just look around an abandoned fucking quarry?”

“Let’s just do it, alright? An assignment from the Captain is an assignment needing to be done.”

“I just saying that… What the fucking pit of hell is this?”

And the two City Watchmen gape as they crest the Summershade Granite Quarry, confronted with a giant Coxsackie’s bare ass as he pisses over the edge.

We fade out.

***

We fade in on a stone chamber devoid of any furnishing. In the center of the room is a large rectangular structure, over ten feet in length and made of the same heavy stone as the walls. The structure might be a tomb, except it has no religious iconography at all. It is simply a stone box in a stone room, and very dark.

Suddenly, we see a single rune flare to life on the structure. Like a pebble dropped in a pond, more runes begin to glow a pale, blue light. Soon the entire rectangular block of stone is glowing with runes across its surface. What meager light shows that the walls, floor, and ceiling are also inscribed in meticulous runic symbols, though these stay dark and dormant.

There is a groan as the top of the structure begins to move. The heavy stone slab grinds as, inch by inch, it is pushed aside from within. After long minutes, the slab teeters and crashes to the rune-inscribed floor, cracking into three pieces. The glow on the structure winks out, leaving the room in darkness once more.

That is, until a pair of pale blue eyes rise. Jaggaki’s skull takes in his surroundings as he stands.

“Steal from me,” he says to the darkness. “Mortal fools. Goblins and rats. I am inexorable. You think me stopped? A tree cannot stop the fire. A heart cannot stop the arrow. Steal from me, will you? We shall see. We shall see…”

We fade to black.

***

And we fade in once more.

We see a woman on the bow of a ship. Behind her, sailors call out to one another and scurry about the deck performing tasks. They are a rough crew, mostly half-orcs, humans, and dwarves, with an occasional halfling or gnoll. All of them are dressed in loose-fitting pants and either simple sleeveless shirts or, more commonly, bare-chested.

In contrast, the woman is wearing a bright blue robe, with red scarves around her waist, neck, and head. The material is fine, but quite below her usual standards. Indeed, she had to quickly sell off her finer wardrobe to afford this journey.

Sedranni Vashnarstill looks different than Jethro Vermillion and the Redeemers would remember in more ways than simply her attire. She is noticeably thinner, largely from frequently forgetting to eat. Though still beautiful, dark circles gather below her eyes from lack of sleep. Far from the solicitous smile of a merchant, Sedranni’s mouth is now most often in a grim line, her eyes narrowed.

“You should get belowdecks, Lady,” a voice says behind her. That would be Captain Qadi, one of the few other women upon the vessel, dark-skinned, tattooed, with arms thicker than Sedranni’s waist. “We’ll be in Katapesh soon and the crew needs the full deck to work.”

“Alright. Thank you Captain.”

Qadi grunts, and the wood creaks as she leaves. Sedranni takes a long look out at the sea, smells the salty air, and exhales.

The Vashnarstills can no longer operate in selling goods. Her reputation ruined, her staff murdered, her goods destroyed, the door has closed on the generations that built Sunset Imports. She is desperate and alone. And in that desperation, Sedranni has clung to the hope of a new profession: that of selling information.

For the thousandth time, she pulls a dirty, rumpled parchment from her robe, one of many correspondences between her and Katapesh. One name clearly stands out, signed at the bottom of the letter:

Uri Zandivar. Sedranni has said this name day and night like a mantra. Uri Zandivar.

With shaking fingers, Sedranni folds the paper and slips it for the thousandth time in her robe. She turns her back on the sea and, with dark determination, prepares herself for this next journey. The sun has begun to set over the waves.

Blackout.

And you have officially finished Book 3! Congratulations!  

[start of Book 4]  

You step through the gold-and-silver mists of the portal and into the lowest level of Castle Redemption. As your eyes adjust to the darkness and scenery, you see two very different figures. One is a tall, wiry, tan human man in studded leather armor that’s black with orange tiger stripes. He’s basically a bad-ass samurai. He has a katana drawn and is facing you, though you notice a black silk blindfold covering his eyes. The other is a pale halfling woman with bright red hair tied into a braid hanging over one shoulder. She is wearing matte, dark-green leather and twirling a curved dagger deftly in each hand.

The halfling squints at you. “Halt right there! Please kindly hold while we sort out if you’re friend or foe. Tak, will you be a dear and go get Captain du Tank?”

“Of course,” the blindfolded man answers. “Be careful.” He spins on one heel and disappears towards the staircase on hurried steps.

“Now some of you are matchin’ the descriptions but not all. You just go ahead and keep waitin’ there and be patient if you please. No sudden moves.” “Betsy Jadefingers, at your service, and Sargeant in the Order of the Sunknights.”

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