Crossroads of Fate

The Ocean in the Desert

Session 12

DM: Do you remember the situation?
Rue: Yes, Tanzi was having a terrible nightmare that Twig was Potago’s eldest son.
DM: Banni pinches you. You’re awake.
Rue: Hurrah!
DM: But your nightmare is true.
Rue: Aw, crap.
Sent at 7:25 PM on Monday
DM: Potago is seething. “Po, he’ll come back,” says Soya. The children are quiet.
He looks like he’s going to say something but holds it in.
“Tanzi? Will you and Sand please come to my study?” he says.
Rue: Tanzi grits her teeth, casting a sidelong glance at Sand. She nods stiffly.
DM: Sand pushes out his lower lip, shells bristling.
Potago slowly rises and puts Gretra, now calmer, down. He silently climbs the stairs.
Rue: Tanzi follows.
DM: As does Sand.
Sent at 7:31 PM on Monday
DM: The stairs are solid and stone and the upper floor contains another open lounge like where you ate dinner, with a wide window and flowers. There are hallways going both ways and several doors. The floor is plushly carpeted. Potago turns and walks to the end of one hallway. He unlocks the door.
Sent at 7:34 PM on Monday
DM: The door opens to a plush office with heavy wooden furniture and shelves and shelves of books and scrolls. A beautiful map is hanging on the wall, painted on canvas.
Sent at 7:36 PM on Monday
Rue: Tanzi looks around the room with only a shadow of her customary curiosity. Her face is tight with apprehension still. Politely, she remarks, “Lovely room.”
Sent at 7:37 PM on Monday
DM: He grunts and closes the door.
Sent at 7:38 PM on Monday
DM: “So?” he asks. “What do you want here?”
Rue: “In Calabash?”
DM: “Yes. In Calabash.”
Sent at 7:40 PM on Monday
Rue: Tanzi hesitates a moment, eyes narrowing then speaks. “I want merely to stay out of trouble, continue my studies, and explore this fabled city while assisting Sand.”
DM: “Studies of magic?”
Rue: “Yes.”
DM: “From what I understand, you have completed what studies you can complete while staying out of trouble. This is why Nevvek sent you here, likely without your mother’s permission.”
Rue: Tanzi mutters, “Conspirators.”
Sent at 7:44 PM on Monday
DM: “You can go home. You can stay safe. You will not learn any more, however, without experiencing danger. I suppose slowly you might, but…” He shrugs. “This is why wizards travel.”
Sent at 7:46 PM on Monday
Rue: “I’m not adverse to a little bit of trouble…”
DM: “That much seems obvious.” He grins slightly. “What do you mean helping Sand? Helping him do what?”
“This one seeks a pearl,” says Sand.
Rue: Tanzi nods. “What he said. We’re looking for a special pearl.”
DM: “I see. Well, that’s not my business unless you care to make it mine. What do you use to protect yourself?”
Rue: “Sunlight. Crowds.”
DM: “You are remarkably flippant for someone covered in her own blood.”
“This one carries bow, spear, and staff!” says Sand and plants the staff firmly in front of him. “This one protects Z.”
Rue: “I answered honestly. Featherfall wasn’t a school for fighters or war mages. I’ve been fortunate to make a friend like Sand. But mostly, I try to avoid obvious danger.”
Sent at 7:51 PM on Monday
DM: He seems dissatisfied.
Rue: Tanzi frowns, “I have a knife.”
Sent at 7:53 PM on Monday
DM: He chuckles. “That’s for eating with and cutting rope.” He presses a finger to the map but doesn’t show you something. Instead you hear a click in the floor. Then he pulls the heavy chair aside.
Rue: Tanzi’s eyes widen and she marks the spot on the map in her memory.
Sent at 7:55 PM on Monday
DM: He bends down and places his palms on the floor and then exerts his sizable shoulders, rotating a hidden part of the floor.
Rue: “Fascinating..”
DM: Then he presses down on another spot and the trap door levers up revealing a ladder down to the basement.
Sent at 7:59 PM on Monday
DM: Potago takes a candle from a sconce, holding it by the lit end, and, grunting, begins to descend the ladder. “Come on,” he says.
Sent at 8:00 PM on Monday
Rue: Grinning slightly, Tanzi looks over to Sand and mouths, “Exciting, huh?” before following Potago. She’s very careful not to miss any rungs in her haste to find out what’s in the basement.
Sent at 8:01 PM on Monday
DM: Sand does not lower the trap door back into place but instead follows after maneuvering his large items such that they will fit. (Climb roll please)
Rue: (Seventeen)
DM: (wow)
Rue: (Yep. Even with my – 2)
Sent at 8:04 PM on Monday
DM: You descend thirty feet to a wide, cool, stone room with a tall ceiling. You see yet another bookshelf here, with weighty-looking books. There is also a mat of straw and a wooden sparring dummy, with many chips and scratches. There are several large chests and a beat-up looking wooden wardrobe.
Rue: Tanzi drifts a few steps towards the bookcase, fingers curling into loose, greedy fists.
Sent at 8:08 PM on Monday
DM: “No wizard tomes there, I’m afraid,” Potago mutters as he hands you the candle.
Rue: “What sort of books are they?”
Sent at 8:09 PM on Monday
DM: Books Soya took an interest in… tales of other planes of existence… legends of other ages… fabled artifacts. She composes sagas sometimes.
- he says
Rue: “Marvelous…I could stay down here for ages.”
“Sand couldn’t, though. He gets hungry.”
Sent at 8:12 PM on Monday
DM: Potago chuckles and unlocks the large heavy wardrobe and opens it. Sand breathes in suddenly.
Rue: Tanzi glances over her shoulder to see what’s provoked a reaction out of the barbarian.
Sent at 8:14 PM on Monday
DM: He’s staring at the open cabinet. Inside is a very large, gleaming and shining suit of scale mail, a helmet, and greaves and many impressive looking weapons and shields.
Sent at 8:16 PM on Monday
Rue: Tanzi looks from Potago to the armor, then from Sand to the armor, and stifles an inappropriate giggle. “Are you proficient with all those savage weapons, Potago?”
Sent at 8:18 PM on Monday
Rue: (brb)
DM: He chuckles. “Aye. I was not always the gentle and calm man you know.”
Sent at 8:20 PM on Monday
DM: He reaches into one side and pulls out a couple of crossbows. He hefts them and looks at you and then puts back the much bulkier one. He hands you a light crossbow. “Wizards usually can figure these out. Put the pointy thing in it and aim it away from you.”

Sent at 8:22 PM on Monday
Rue: Tanzi takes the crossbow, holding it awkwardly and with some distaste. “I’ve seen these used. They’re very destructive.” Frowning, she remembers the dogs. “But I can see how one would be useful under certain circumstances.”
Sent at 8:25 PM on Monday
DM: “Do you need to practice? I have a target.”
Sent at 8:26 PM on Monday
Rue: Tanzi nods, whirling towards the dummy. “Put the bolts in like so…right?” She attempts to load the crossbow and then squints at the target.
Sent at 8:27 PM on Monday
DM: It’s surprisingly well-oiled and well-made. It is much smoother than the ones at the Featherfall school, many of which had rusted from disrepair.
Rue: “Take this, ogre fiend!” she says while launching her attack at the unsuspecting wooden dummy.
DM: (you can add an extra +1)
Rue: (always?)
DM: (it is masterwork)
Rue: (practice shot = 17)
DM: Thunk. The bolt lodges in the lower portion of the dummy. “Well done,” says Potago.
Rue: Tanzi approaches the dummy and tries to wrench out the bolt.
DM: (str roll?)
Rue: (3)
Sent at 8:33 PM on Monday
DM: Potago gives a slight twist and pulls it out. “Hey, boy!” he yells, surprised and looking back where Sand has placed the horned helmet on his head and is trying to spin a double-bladed sword
Rue: Tanzi laughs.
Sent at 8:34 PM on Monday
DM: “This one sees the thieves of the pearl with this sharp staff!” says Sand. “This one will fight them!”
Rue: “Whoa….right now? We just ate. You’ll get a belly-ache.”
DM: “Boy, that’s beyond your ken. That’s a difficult weapon to learn,” says Potago. “Put it back before you hurt someone.”
Rue: “Sand’s very clever with weapons. I bet with practice he could learn to use anything,” Tanzi says with a defensive edge to her voice.
Sent at 8:38 PM on Monday
DM: Potago calmly removes the over-large helmet from Sand who still hefts and swings the weapon.
“This one will fight them!” argues Sand and he has that crazed look in his eye from when he fought the dogs.
Rue: “Of course, you will,” Tanzi says. “And I’ll help you. But they aren’t here right now. It’s just us. Just friends, Sand.”
Sent at 8:40 PM on Monday
DM: (can you make a diplomacy roll?)
Rue: (Seventeen)
DM: Sand seems to calm down but he doesn’t put the sword down. “Look at me, boy,” says Potago.
Rue: Tanzi looks at the sword with suspicion.
DM: “Can you remember things when you’ve been fighting, Sand?” Potago asks.
Sent at 8:45 PM on Monday
DM: Sand says, “This one does except… sometimes this one hears the ocean in this one’s ears, but the ocean is far far away. When this one hears the ocean, sometimes this one does not remember.”
Sent at 8:46 PM on Monday
Rue: “Probably a curse,” Tanzi says, nodding sagely.
Sent at 8:48 PM on Monday
DM: “No, Tanzi,” says Potago. “Sand is channeling something here.” He points to his own chest. “I used to be this way. We from the northern mountains could call upon something and find ourselves in a battle frenzy. Often we’d be dead on our feet and not even know it… like a stuck boar. If you’re his friend, you need to look after him. When he comes back to himself, he might have a mortal wound. You’d have to help him before he calms down.”
Sent at 8:51 PM on Monday
Rue: “I am his friend. I’ll always look after him. But I’m not much of a healer. Maybe that’s what I should learn next.”
Sent at 8:53 PM on Monday
DM: Potago nods. “Boy… put the sword back. If you truly wish to learn it, I can teach you.” He walks over to one of the chests and unlocks it. “Like a candle burning at both ends,” he mutters… “barbarians.”
Rue: “Sand, what did you mean when you said you can see the pearl’s thieves?”
Sent at 8:56 PM on Monday
DM: “This one saw the guards with these two-swords. Z saw it too, at the tent.”
Rue: “Ah…I see what you meant. What are these swords called, Potago?”
Sent at 9:01 PM on Monday
DM: “Double-blades or two-blades… many of the desert warriors use them. Really, I’d rather have a shield and a heavy axe.”
Rue: “I’d rather have a fireball or chain lightning.”
DM: “Not bad… but what happens when it doesn’t work? Say your foe still stands. Then what? With a good length of steel, you can use it again and again.”

Sent at 9:04 PM on Monday
Rue: “Fireball first, steel next.” Tanzi nods decisively. “Besides, if I were powerful enough to conjure fire, I’d have a dozen other spells up my sleeves.”
Sent at 9:05 PM on Monday
DM: “Well, here,” says Potago. He hands you two small vials of blue thick liquid. “One for you and one for him.”
Rue: Tanzi tilts the vial from side to side. “Are these restorative potions?”
DM: “Yes,” he says. “Probably made by your mother.”
Rue: Tanzi smiles fondly. “Oh. They probably taste terrible then. The cure that kills all hunger.”
Sent at 9:09 PM on Monday
DM: (you can put down 2 potions of cure light wounds)
Rue: (done)
Sent at 9:11 PM on Monday
DM: Potago rummages around and finds a quiver of bolts. The fletching doesn’t match on them. He pulls some out to check the heads and measure. One of them has a gleaming red painted head. “Hmm? I don’t remember what this one does, but it’s magic. Never used the crossbow. Some wizard owned it.”
Rue: Tanzi shivers. “Some…dead wizard? Or a careless wizard who accidentally misplaced his masterwork crossbow in your basement?”
Sent at 9:14 PM on Monday
DM: “Some wizard up to no good twenty-five years ago,” grunts Potago. “Put his faith in fireballs too.”
Sent at 9:15 PM on Monday
Rue: Tanzi’s blue eyes gleam. “He didn’t happen to have a spellbook on him, did he?” She taps the red bolt with her index finger, smiling faintly.
Sent at 9:17 PM on Monday
DM: He frowns. “You sound like Amras. Too much…”
Sent at 9:20 PM on Monday
Rue: “I’m just curious. Harmless curiosity.”
Sent at 9:21 PM on Monday
DM: “Hmmm. All right. Time for you to go and get your sleep. You have an early morning tomorrow. You may sleep here tonight if you wish but tomorrow you will have to find your own place.”
Sent at 9:23 PM on Monday
Rue: “Thank you, Potago. May I ask a question?”
DM: “You may ask. I may not answer,” he replies, as Sand climbs back up the ladder with a wistful glance at the arms cabinet.
Sent at 9:25 PM on Monday
Rue: “Why has no one ever mentioned you or Soya to me?”
Sent at 9:26 PM on Monday
DM: “I will only say that your mother does not look back on our time together as happily as we do. It’s… disappointing to all of us. We did some great deeds. But that is for her to discuss with you, not I.”
Sent at 9:29 PM on Monday
Rue: Tanzi nods. “Thank you for your help, Potago. We will endeavor not to bring any trouble to you or your house.”
Sent at 9:31 PM on Monday
DM: “Thank you.” He indicates the ladder. “You will be at work in the morning? Perhaps your next day will not be as eventful as your first.”
Rue: “Yes, sir.”
“Should I put this back?” She hefts the crossbow uncertainly. “Or did you mean to loan it to me?”
DM: “It’s yours, Tanzi.”
Sent at 9:34 PM on Monday
Rue: “Thank you again. I’m indebted to you.” Tanzi bows her head. She then attempts to climb the ladder, perhaps more clumsily now that she’s carrying a crossbow.
(climb check 5)
DM: Good enough. Potago is a steady presence behind you.
Sent at 9:38 PM on Monday
Rue: After she and Potago have both reached the top, Tanzi says with great and obvious reluctance. “I’m not just in your debt, Potago.” She sighs heavily. “About Mama Nettie…”
Sent at 9:41 PM on Monday
DM: He looks at you as he locks the trap door back in place.
Sent at 9:43 PM on Monday
Rue: “I owe her a favor of her choosing, at a time of her choosing.” Glumly, she adds, “It’s sealed with her spit.”
Sent at 9:44 PM on Monday
DM: He sighs. “It is not unexpected. You are lucky to only owe her one favor. She will not try to harm you or me. But, be wary of her, however.”
Sent at 9:47 PM on Monday
Rue: “Too late for wariness. Do you know of any way to tell if she’s bespelled Sand or myself?”
Sent at 9:48 PM on Monday
DM: ‘Amras was always able to detect magic upon an object or person. Can you not do this? It was my understanding it was an early skill learned.”
Sent at 9:50 PM on Monday
Rue: “I know a spell that reveals magical auras. But I’m worried that a witch might have some sneaky magic.”
Sent at 9:52 PM on Monday
DM: “This is beyond me. As I said, I don’t believe she will harm you. She knows you are under my protection.”
Rue: Tanzi nods, but looks at Sand with worry. “As you say.”
Sent at 9:55 PM on Monday
DM: “Tanzi, you may sleep with Guendal in her room. Sand, this is Hrob and Banni’s.”
Sent at 9:56 PM on Monday
DM: He opens a door where the two boys sleep in a cluttered room on a very large comfortable straw-tick bed. There is plenty of room for Sand. “This one thanks Potago,” says Sand. “This one will learn the wave blade.”
Sand bids you good night and Potago takes you down the hallway.
Sent at 9:59 PM on Monday
Rue: Tanzi follows, crossing her fingers and praying that tonight isn’t when Mama Nettie chooses to call on one of the favors owed.
Sent at 10:02 PM on Monday
DM: Potago knocks and hears Guendal’s gentle call. This room is gently furnished. There is a dresser and wardrobe and a washbasin and mirror. Guendal sits up in a down bed. She is reading. “Oh, hello,” she says. “You are staying over?”
Sent at 10:04 PM on Monday
Rue: Tanzi smiles. “Hi,yes. If it doesn’t disturb anyone.”
Sent at 10:05 PM on Monday
DM: She smiles. “Of course not.” She gets out of bed and lays out some soap, a flannel, a brush, and a night dress for you.
Potago wraps a large arm around you and kisses you on top of the head. “Good night, Tanzi Turtlemoon,” he says. “It is my honor to have you in my home.”
Sent at 10:07 PM on Monday
Rue: Nearly speechless at the generosity of this family – with one notable and absent exception – Tanzi stares at the floor and murmurs another thanks.
Sent at 10:10 PM on Monday
DM: He closes the door behind you, wishing you and his daughter a good night.
Sent at 10:12 PM on Monday
Rue: “You have a very nice family,” Tanzi says. “May I ask what you’re reading?” As she speaks, she busies herself with retrieving her spellbook from her pack.
Sent at 10:15 PM on Monday
DM: “It’s my diary,” Guendal says. “Sometimes I reread parts of it.”
Sent at 10:16 PM on Monday
Rue: “That’s lovely. You can look back on things you’ve done or felt and see if you’ve changed. I’ve always wanted to keep a journal, but I’m either too busy or too disorganized.” Tanzi flips to the page of her spellbook that holds Detect Magic.
Sent at 10:18 PM on Monday
DM: When you start to flip you see there are papers stuck in between that you’ve not seen before. Dirty pages.
Rue: “Eww,” Tanzi mutters. She sniffs the pages.
Sent at 10:20 PM on Monday
DM: They smell like sputtering black candles and bubbling foul stews.
Sent at 10:21 PM on Monday
DM: And rotting flesh.
Rue: Tanzi smooths a hand over her frizzy hair and seethes over the intrusion. “That woman…” Carefully she inspects the pages further.
Sent at 10:23 PM on Monday
DM: There are two pages.. they are written in an arcane script that will take some study to decipher. But one has written in common across the top, “maybe little wizard use this instead of killing doggies next time.”
Sent at 10:24 PM on Monday
Rue: “We didn’t kill them,” she murmurs before settling down to study the page in question. She pulls out a paper, a pen, and some ink to use for notes.
Sent at 10:26 PM on Monday
DM: (it takes 8 hours of study to learn a spell from a scroll using Spellcraft… or you could use a prepared read magic to know what it is)
Sent at 10:28 PM on Monday
Rue: (She has no prepared Read Magic…but I guess that’s the way to go.)
After a few frustrating minutes, Tanzi tucks the paper away and concentrates on memorizing an array of spells for the next day.
DM: (you’ll still have to use Spellcraft to see if you understand it enough to copy into your spellbook)
Sent at 10:29 PM on Monday
Rue: (would I get a bonus to my Spellcraft if I used Read Magic first?)
DM: (no, but you could cast the spell from the scroll)
“Tanzi? I’m going to sleep now. Will you please cap the candles when you’re ready?” asks Guendal.
Rue: “Yes. I can do so now if the light will disturb you.”
DM: “Not at all. Good night.”
Rue: “Good night.”
Sent at 10:32 PM on Monday
DM: What do you do before sleeping? You see the candles in this room are more of these heatless ones that just need a metal cover to hide their light.
Rue: Tanzi intends to slip back downstairs and retrieve her chest from the dining area, clean herself up, memorize her spells, and that’s it.
Sent at 10:34 PM on Monday
DM: Easily done. The bed is very comfy and there is plenty of room for you.
Rue: After capping the odd candles, Tanzi goes to sleep, hoping to dream of anything except Mama Nettie’s creepy pets.


thorne thorne

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