|The Hanged Man Monk|
|Season 1, Episode 3|
|File:RollPlay - Court of Swords 3, Part 1|
|Date of Events|
|Jul 30, 2016|
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The world turns towards the hottest part of the Season of Fire. Out on the road through the jungle, the exhausted Magistrates are making their way to the town of Sự phồn thịnh. With them are the only two survivors of a fishing village fallen to a mysterious necromantic force, brother and sister Somnang and Thuy. The girl has taken well to life on the road, the boy less so.
The road they travel is deserted, though the further they travel from the deserted fishing village the more signs of life return to the jungle. Zephyra continually searches the jungle for signs the Magisrates are not alone, fellow travellers, perhaps, or even something stranger. The party camps each night on the side of the road, rather than delving into the jungles and marshes. Velimir sets traps around the perimeter.
Thuy, pointedly, does not aid him. Instead she helps set the campfire, then looks after her brother. When Samnang falls asleep she slips away. Baern follows. First he hears the sounds of her scimitar, then encounters her on the way back to camp, dragging a mass of leaves behind her. Baern recognises there are types of leaves in the bundle - one that, when burned, acts as insect repellent, the other that causes a nasty rash on contact. The latter are hidden amongst the former. She denies all knowledge of this when challenged.
The party falls asleep but their rest is interrupted by a rustling of leaves and a high-pitched shriek. Velimir extinguishes the campfire and enters the jungle. He begins to feel an itch, which becomes a maddening, obnoxious burning sensation. Finally he comes across a triggered snare and in the light of the moon sees a Kobold hanging upside down by one leg. Velimir knocks the fucker out and goes back to camp, cranky and scratching, shooting dark looks at Thuy. The Magistrates debate what to do next, whether it would be wise to move on in case the noise of the Kobold attracts predators or the rest of his tribe. Velimir returns to the Kobold, binding him up and bringing him back to the others. The Kobold is looted, then set alight. The party finishes their rest, all save Velimir who is so itchy that sleep is utterly impossible.
Velimir rises, covered in ashy hives. Baern points out the culprit, an innocuous little plant that the rogue could easily have brushed against when in the jungle last night. "Would you like me to pray for you?" the cleric asks innocently. Suspicious, Velimir approaches Thuy, accusing her of being responsible for his state. She sniggers, says no. Zephyra reprimands both of them. A special salve of mud and berries is concocted for the grumbling Velimir which soothes his itch, but not his intense annoyance. The children find the whole thing hilarious.
The party continues down the road. The terrain becomes even swampier, with stagnant puddles across the path and mosquitos everpresent. Eventually they come to a place where the road is completely washed out. Thuy tells the Magistrates that she can't swim.
Zephyra concocts a plan. A platform is made of wood and rope and Zephyra levitates it above the water. Velimir takes a running jump and, blessed by Temperance, surfs the platform across the water. He brings a rope with him. (Thuy points out they could have used crossbows to shoot the rope across. Zephyra replies that Velimir needed this little victory.) On the far side of the water Velimir secures the rope to a log. On it, he notices what looks like a nest... The other end of the rope is secured and the raft is ferried back. Baern follows, then Thuy and Somnang on the raft together. When the children are half way across, a buzzing fills the air- emerging from the nest is a Giant Lanternfly, bright red, the size of a dog. All round the clearing more crawl forth, wings flickering blue and red, their bodies glowing with a dull light.
Baern and Velimir back away. Halfway across the water Thuy stops. Zephyra shouts at her to keep going, but the girl is petrified. The air genasi rages, pulling on the rope, trying to force the raft along, but even this proves futile. The Giant Lanternflies attack the Magistrates. Velimir stabs one, its virulent orange guts spilling luminous upon the ground. Zephyra manages to pull the raft the rest of the way across. Thuy and Somnang fall on the ground then fleeing as far as they can from the creatures.
The bugs retaliate. Velimir promptly goes down in a bevy of bites. Zephyra hauls herself across the water on the raft, finally joining the fight as Baern's prayer bring Velimir back from the brink of death. The bugs, however, continue to viciously nibble on his prostrate body until he is able to rise. Zephyra and Baern strike at the creatures while Thuy shouts frantically from a distance. At last the final Lanternfly is killed. Zephyra calls the children back, giving out to them for panicking and putting the lives of the Magistrates at risk. The party gut the Lanternflies, pulling luminous glands from their bodies that may prove useful for light.
The Magistrates move on. The area continues to be far more swampy than it should be in the Season of Fire. Baern suspects that the water table has risen, though the cause is unknown. Night falls and the party grows tired, especially a muddy, bloody bug-bitten and rashy Velimir. Camp is set up, once again protected by the fire-genasi's traps. In the night, Velimir and Thuy awake at the same time. The antagonistic pair converse and have something of a rapprochement - while Thuy doesn't admit to the leaf-mischief, she repairs his cloak, while Velimir shows her one of his multi-coloured fire tricks. "Not very useful," says the girl, "but pretty - like you."
Two days go by. The party comes out of the lowland area, the jungles thinning, their destination of Sự phồn thịnh mere days away. They near a statue of a long-ago saint, its surface weathered by centuries of rain, sitting cross-legged where the road diverges. Zephyra tells Thuy that it is a place of rest, where travellers traditionally stop in their journey towards town. Voices come from behind the statue. One belongs to an old man in tattered robes, a monk of The Hanged Man who goes by the title Pale Sunlight Through Mist. He is accompanied by two young acolytes in grey robes who still bear their names; Nise and Falla. The monk is delighted to see Velimir, a denizen of the Court of Wands, the acolytes less so. Pale Sunlight Through Mist tells the Magistrates he and his followers are on a mission from Sự phồn thịnh, tending to folk in the surrounding villages. He is surprised to see the childen accompanying the Magistrates. Baern explains they are refugees from the Fishing Village which has fallen under the sway of some dark power. This causes some consternation among the acoyltes, but the monk quiets them. There have been signs, the monk tells the Magistrates, of some terrible growing influence in the swamps - the Mara. It is good that the Magistrates are planning to return to the Fishing Village with reinforcements, but Sự phồn thịnh has problems of its own: the Kobolds that have menaced the party bedevil the town as well. His attention turns to the children. If he was not busy on his holy task he would take them in himself, helping them to let go of their traumatic past.
Before the monk and his acolytes part with the Magistrates, he offers them the Letting Go, a rite of the Hanged Man whereby petitioners can unburden themselves of things they no longer wish to carry. Money is commonly offered up, but also secrets and troubling memories that burden their bearers. Zephyra, who has partaken of the Letting Go many times, offers gold. The old monk daubs ash on her throat, then embraces her, bringing his ear close to Zephyra's mouth so she may whisper her secret burden to him.
The other Magistrates see her lips move, but whatever she tells the old man, it is not carried by the wind.
The Magistrates leave the monk behind. As they come closer to Sự phồn thịnh, the road shows increasing signs of use - cart tracks through the muck, greater swathes of the jungle cut back to make room for rice paddies. There are signs of civilisation too, first the odd farmer's hut amongs the fields and then the hazy outline of Sự phồn thịnh itself. At camp that night Baern tells Thuy the Magistrates' plan for the children - they will be brought somewhere safe in town. There the children can live until they are old enough to decide what to do with their lives. Thuy rejects this - turning to Zephyra she tells her she wants to fight, to kill whoever destroyed their village. Zephyra says this might be possible, in time. Baern suggests the temple of Temperance, saying Thuy could train with the paladins there... though he recognises that Thuy is a far way from the calmness of mind required by those who fight in the name of Temperance, seeing in her the same deep-seated rage he felt when he lost his own family at a young age.
Early the next morning a cart pulled by a giant goat passes the Magistrates. A family, two parents, two children are on board. Zephyra calls out - the cart halts in the road. Obsequious, the peasants bow before the Magistrates, avoiding eye contact. They offer the cart to Zephyra, but she asks only if she and her compatriots could hitch a ride upon it. The cart however is too small to hold both the family and the Magistrates. Zephyra allows them to go on their way down the road. Thuy is contemptuous of the fawning peasants. She orders Somnang: never bow to anyone, then marches off, the amused Magistrates trailing in her wake.
At around twilight, the party round a bend on the last stretch before Sự phồn thịnh. On the side of the road, half submerged in the rice field is the cart from earlier that day. Velimir, as usual, approaches first. There are arrows embedded in the side of the vehicle. The ground is dark wth blood. Across from the wagon, a body lies in the water. Further up the road a campfire can be seen. Zephyra and Velimir creep towards the light - around the fire they see three brigands and their mastiff. The butchered remnants of a giant goat lie nearby. Velimir fetches Baern, but the sound of the dwarf's armour alerts the hound. Its barking in turn alerts its masters. They grab machetes and crossbows, while one holding aloft a torch steps into the darkness, searching for the disturbance. The dog is let off its chain and barrels towards Baern. A javelin hurled by Zephyra misses
at around twilight they see on the side of the road they see a wagon cart on the side of the road they send velimir to investigate vel; sees blood splashed on the road and sees a body in the blood he also sees down the road a camp of people. he goes back to inform the group. they do reconnaissance zeph is very stealthy but surprisingly vel is not they see 3 men and a dog and engage them slaughtering them all. they look around but the children are gone nowhere to be found. they investigate the campground and find the mother dead on the ground. the episode ends with the party shouting thuy
Key Events Edit
10 copper 50 silver 25 electrum 20 gold given to Baern.
they all get 100 xp now at 298xp 2xp from leveling
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