When Last We Left Our Intrepid Adventurers…
…they had followed Adrianna into the grand estate of Merchant Prince Enzo d’Matteucci, a young, wealthy man filled to the brim with self-serving interest and douchebaggery. Telan had started to accompany them, but felt himself being pulled into the Fade again. With a quick promise that he’d find the others, he surrendered to the pull and was brought into the Fade.
Meanwhile, the rest of our heroes spoke with Adrianna and found that the year was 9:34 – everyone’s last memories were from 9:32! They had lost 2 years somehow!
With little time to ponder that, Prince Enzo swept in. After some quick questions, he had a business proposition for them, since our heroes were obviously in need of some help — and as it happened, so was the Prince:
Lately, Prince Enzo’s land-bound trade caravans had been waylaid by brigands. They were too-well informed about when his shipments left the city of Seleny, and they seemed to prey upon him specifically; Enzo suspected an informant in his own house. All evidence pointed to his courier servant Alonse.
The servant was about to run a missive to Antiva City in the morning. Prince Enzo asked our heroes to follow Alonse to Antiva City and send word back to him as to whether or not this man was the rat, and who he was working for. In return, our heroes would be properly clothed, given some spending money, and given tokens promising them passage on board Prince Enzo’s cargo barge, the Golden Maiden.
As the Merchant Prince spoke, Deni had the strangest sensation as something awakened within her. She had no proof, she had no reason to doubt the Prince, and yet she was absolutely certain that he was lying about several topics. Given the opportunity to discuss with the others before giving an answer to the Merchant Prince, Deni shared her feelings, and found the others not only receptive to her warnings, but in agreement.
Suspecting treachery, our heroes had Prince Enzo draw up a contract. He was more than pleased to do so. As promised, our heroes were clothed, given supplies and spending money, and given travel tokens. With time to spare before the morning, they decided to explore the festival – all except Bennet, who decided to explore Adrianna.
The group participated in the festival’s yearly game of catching “Lady Estrella’s” scarf — a task that required a great deal of teamwork — and in doing so, won the purse and briefly met the kind and generous Merchant Princess Violetta Arzan. She did not linger for pleasantries, however; the festival was large and, being so popular, she wanted to greet as many as possible.
Deni continued to wander the festival, amazed by all of the new colors, sounds, and sights. Protective, Calder joined her to make sure that no one took advantage of the innocent elf. Well…that and to play some more games!
Meanwhile, Ralath had found a thread of information on which to tug. The group had learned that Prince Enzo had come into his power rather quickly, and at the expense of another noble family: House Da’Finescu. House Da’Finescu had been dishonored and their lands and titles granted to House d’Matteucci, at which point Prince Enzo fired the servants and replaced them with his own. Two scions of house Da’Finescu remained under the employ of Prince Enzo; he had been “kind” enough to allow them to work for him as indentured servants instead of casting them to the streets.
House Da’Finescu was rumored to be much kinder than House d’Matteucci; they were more liberal in the treatment of elves and generally well-liked by the people before their public dishonor. Ralath sought out the downtrodden elves hiding in the darker areas of Seleny, some of whom had worked for House Da’Finescu, and started to learn more:
The elves spoke of a brother and sister, the latter of whom was forced to run the White Pearl, a brothel owned by Prince Enzo. Ralath paid a visit to the Pearl and had a secret meeting with Joya Da’Finescu. He left with a new ally, and a promise that if she could find any information to clear her family’s name and dishonor Prince Enzo, she would send a messenger to him.
That evening, everyone slept, and oh, the dreams they dreamed…
Calder was having a meal in a mess hall, listening to a story from Forgotten Ally 3, who he finally recognized as his comrade Stannbury. As he laughed with Stannbury, a friendly, female hand landed comfortably on Calder’s shoulder. Before he could look up to see who it was, the door to the mess hall burst open. Several of his allies — the rest of our heroes included – hurried in. The table was cleared and a map of Ferelden was laid down. Forgotten Ally 1 — now remembered as Brode (rest in peace!) — marked a spot on the map, and everyone around the table grew serious as the weight of a new mission settled in…
Ralath was in the private aravel of Keeper Ara’las. They were in the thick of an argument; tension and displeasure hung in the air, palpable. It continued, a long, drawn-out disagreement that ended in Keeper Ara’las’s eyes hardening, the elder stabbing a finger towards the door of his aravel as he spoke. Time shifted, and Ralath found himself walking away from his tribe; they watched as he went. Unhappy, Ralath felt a sense of abandonment as he left…
Deni sneaked into an unknown settlement, wrapped in a hooded cloak, disguised and careful. She sneaked through the streets, heading towards a bridge where she was to meet…someone. It might have been for a romantic tryst, but it felt a little too dangerous to be so benign. As she approached the bridge, she found the man waiting for her – it was Ser Gale, the Templar she had helped. He looked harrowed, and his words, however blurred by her memory, carried weight with them. The only words she was able to remember clearly were “I need your help.” He was about to explain when a noise distracted him; when he turned back, his eyes were wide. “They’re here,” he hissed. Grabbing her by the arm, he gave her a shove. “Run.” She obeyed…
Bennet’s eyes were covered by a cloth blindfold, and he felt himself being held down forcibly. Shifting his head to see out of the bottom of the blindfold, he couldn’t make out his captors, even as they rolled his sleeve up. He caught a glimpse of a greyish-black powder being touched to his arm; the second it connected, Bennet felt his pulse quicken, his heart pound in his chest, and a strange, sudden sense of exhilaration overtook him. He noticed the strange powder slowly start to change colors, and his captors’ hold on Bennet intensified in answer…
To Be Continued!
Notable Character Updates:
Forgotten Ally 1
Forgotten Ally 3
GM’s Note: Two new Forgotten Allies have been added to the list, having appeared in Calder’s dream.
1. Noir OST: Romance. Prince Enzo lives a life of finery — but at whose expense? This track is very hard to find online; this live performance has been the best I can find thus far.
2. Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children OST: For the Reunion. Deni listens to the Merchant Prince, and as he continues, she just knows he’s lying.
3. The Sky Beneath You – Music for Film – Acoustic Labs. As our heroes dream, wisps of their missing two years come back to tease at the edges of their mind.