Not What They Seem – Recaps episodes 72-80

The duo tails the suspicious individual throughout the streets of Nymora for the better part of two hours. When they see an opportunity to corner them in an alley and get some answers, they spring their trap. Turns out this individual is a Palenguard who goes by the name of the “Tinkerer” who is tracking a variant version of one of the party members. He explains the situation to the two of them, he’s not sure who exactly it is but he and his partner, who is on the skyship tailing the rest of the party, are going off of a tip from the Journeyman. Together they surmise that it’s likely Salix and they have to get to the party as soon as they can. They part ways with the Tinkerer and the two split off from one another. Shanks goes to the library just before close and picks up what he believes is useful information for not just him, but the party. Arguile heads back to Zechs’ parents and is eventually met by Shanks. Hearing a commotion in the distance they quickly go to check on it. To their surprise, they find that war has indeed come to Nymora. Arguile recognizes the enormous machines piloted by soldiers… from Iwi. They are slaughtering citizens en masse, the duo informs the guards to run and get the citizens to safety. Rushing towards Zechs’ home they inform his parents to pack a bag and tell them that they had to leave… NOW! Eventually making it back to a Mr Big who Arguile previously made plans to magically transport “something” to the ship where the party was. He now gets the 4 of them to transport and tells Mr. Big that if he has a place to go, he should get out of there. He assures them that the Arbiter will protect them and the four are teleported to the moving ship. We find Zechs’ parents, Arguile and Shanks in one of the lower levels of the airship. Shanks uses “Disguise Self” to appear as Glad goes to find Galahad and eventually Zechs, filling them in on most of the details. They leave Duo in Zechs’ room and an alarm spell is placed. Shanks then begins to fill Galahad and Zechs with the whole situation. After a bit of discussion and exasperation, they decide to fill in Glad and Voyas about their Anti-Salix problem. With everyone in the loop, they needed to figure out just how to stop the imposter. Shanks suggests that they try and find the Tinkerer’s partner, the Tailor. Taking the chance that the Tailor will reach out on their own, Galahad takes Duo to the dining deck for lunch. He’s approached by a tabaxi that shows interest in the Goliath in plate armor eating with a Blood Hawk. Not long after, Arguile and Shanks catch up with him and the Tiefling notices a note that’s been hidden on the Paladin’s person. It reads “Suite 2B”.After an appropriate amount of jokes, Galahad makes his way to the suite where he meets the Tabaxi woman, Summer. However, it’s revealed to just be an illusion, and Summer is actually the Palenguard known as the Tailor. She gets Galahad up to speed on what the situation is with the “Alternate”s and their relationship with and to the Constable. She confirms that the Judge, the Jury, and the Executioner are his lieutenants and then gets into how to properly subdue Alternate Salix and get them into Palenguard custody. The perspective switches and time jumps to ten days earlier. Salix wakes up in a dimly lit room, aside from the light over them. They are being held by a man named “Arbane” who works for Lady Sagewyng. He openly revels in having caught them after more than two centuries on the run. They meet their “Alternate” and the Constable, but things get fuzzy from there. Eventually, they come to inside a keep, meeting not one but six other residents. They’re all wards of the Web of Fate, the fanatical cult that has been growing throughout their hiding. Despite Salix’s hesitation towards them, their captors INSIST that they are friends and on the same side. Eventually, they meet other residents (captives, potential sacrifices) and start to get an understanding of just how grave their situation may be. A blur of interactions pushes time forward to meet back up to where the rest of the party currently is. While in the dining area, Salix helps to clean up and begins an exchange of stories of their origins and why they would be sought after by the Web of Fate. They explain that they are a priestess or reincarnation of the Daughter of the Void and go into detail about what she looks like. Back on the airship, Galahad informs the party about what the Tailor said and they start to strategize a plan of attack. In a lapse of judgment, Zechs forgets to check on his Hunter’s Mark on the imposter, realizing that they are right outside the room they are discussing plans. A brief and tense pause later, Zechs’ Hunter’s Mark drops, and immediately the team searches every crevice of the ship to no avail. Alternate Salix is gone and left a very taunting message in their room. Zechs informs his parents about EVERYTHING that’s been going on with Alternate Salix and Malar and eventually makes plans to send them back home to Nymora. Glad uses Sending to relay to The Journeyman all that has transpired, but the spell is not received at all. The group, suddenly worried that they were captured again, asks if she can contact Chico or Welby. She reaches out to Welby who in the most horrific pained voice says “Make it stop.” The group is at a loss for what to do and spends the next few days of their journey in quiet contemplation and preparation for what’s to come. Finally in the Heartwood proper, after using Speak With Plants again to communicate with Amina, they arrive at the base of the massive tree and begin to make their way inside to speak with her. Throughout their residency, (imprisonment), Salix begins to receive visions from the Daughter of the Void. They inquire if it’s happening to anyone else, which it isn’t. This goes on for many days. During this time they see a Unillum that is seemingly wearing a dress of buzzing and slightly agitated bees. The Unillum informs them that they are here to rescue Salix. Preparations are made and more information is gathered. Meanwhile, at the Heartwood proper, Zechs and Shanks go to meet Amina, The Arbiter of the Heartwood. She looks just as Zechs remembers her. Some questions are answered, but even newer questions are now posed. They learn that Kyver is safe and traveling with a different party. She offers them relief as Nymora is indeed safe and lets them know that she can help with transportation to Invenas. This is where we leave the party and we pick up where we left Thai. More specifically, the moments leading up to his capture by the Constable. He gave himself up to keep the party safe but knew all too well what lay ahead for him. He is brought back to the Infinity Bazaar, where he spent his youth and trained to be a thief and a killer. It’s a strange welcome home and no sooner does he return, than he begins plotting his next escape. After surveying his current situation he finds himself speaking to “The Ringmaster” Olmoz who is happy to have Thai back at the bazaar. He is greeted by Olmoz and some old “friends”: Morz, a hobgoblin, and Bosco, a halfling. The group is informed that they’re going on a job. Nothing like getting right down to business. They head off in pursuit of the Cindergems, stones that have massive amounts of arcane power and are supposed to be a myth. While they’re en route, they decide to catch up and air out any grievances. It’s briefly tense but that is pushed aside as they are shifting their focus to the task at hand. With some well-crafted disguises and a bit of luck, they’re able to get their way into the main building and into the vaults, where they’re trying to procure the Cindergems. The trio sneaks by, deceives, or disengages any guard or trap that they come across. Finding not only heaps of gold and other coin but also coming across several rare magical items. While it’s nice to line their pockets with coins and add a few items to their collection, something doesn’t seem wholly right about this vault. Things get all the more real when they finally find the first of the six Cindergems locked away behind a door to a dead-end hallway that is trapped to high heaven. Something isn’t adding up: lack of guards, the treasure is more like trophies of adventurers and only a couple have been found thus far. This doesn’t fit the MO of a vault for a mining company. The group makes their way further while knocking out guards, dodging traps, stuffing their pockets with gold, and slipping by any curious eyes. Eventually finding another gem, Morz offers a suggestion to Bosco and Thai. It’s a crazy plan, but if it works, it could just ensure their freedom. They take the gems and flee. Use the gold to buy Amulets against Divination and leave the Bazaar behind, for good. But first things first: find the rest of the gems and get the hell out of dodge without alerting the guards. However, this job becomes more suspicious with every new inch the trio uncovers. The deeper they go the guards, the locks and traps are few and far between, and the loot in here just doesn’t add up. With some creative teamwork Morz, Bosco, and Thai end up subduing almost every guard they encounter with ease. As they continue to make their way through, they continue to keep things light with their friendly competition and try to one-up the other with who can bag the most coin off of the guards. Eventually, they do succeed in finding the Cindergems that they were sent to get. However, all this fun must come to an end and what has been a too-good-to-be-true job reveals its fangs. The room they passed through to get to the last gem holds a statue of an Emerald Dragon that faces the entrance. As they leave the final vault with the final Cinder Gem, the statue tracks them across the room. That’s alarming enough until the ground quakes and an Emerald Dragon burrows its way up from the floor and begins to chase after the rogues. How will they make it out of this pickle?

Leave a Reply