Beneath Aetherian Skies

Tieresia Episode 1: The Child of Prophecy

Wherein the band sets out on the trail of a mysterious elf.

The newly-formed band of adventurers talks their way through the checkpoint and exits the port city of Old Ashton, begining their journey to the Republic of Padavona. Their wagon driver Chunt Pilgrim informs them that it will take them three days to reach Snakebite Pass at the other end of the Kingdom of Bain, though the law enforcement of the region has ensured that the main roads are bandit-free. On their way out, Garzad decides to name their mule Hamilton.

On their first day Garzad attempts to alleviate boredom by singing about the countryside, and horribly fails geography by singing about the countryside underground: stalagmites and drow raiders. A farmer on their route takes notice and approaches, only for Gelion to try and draw his attention to Magnificus. The former superstar (now in hiding during the trek through Bain) deflects this by convincing the farmer that his mother was a fan of the Magnificus and named him after the famous minstrel.

Gelion is jealous at the farmer calling attention to his companion's exceptional voice, drawing his throwing knife and accidentally hurling it through the farmer's daughter's head. The farmer is distraught, though strangely implores the adventurers to raise her from the dead; according to him an oracle (who he describes as an elf who was wearing a fake beard and a hat) came by recently and told him that the girl would 'do something important' (the farmer was clearly confused by the oracle's words of prophecy, and only took that away from the conversation). Gelion attempts and fails to convince the man that his daughter was in fact prophesied to destroy the world, and they all decide to continue on with the child's corpse in their wagon. When asked more about this supposed oracle, the farmer explains that he seemed to know much about the ways of medicine and death (causing Garzad to conclude that he must be a necromancer of some sort). The dwarf sorcerer proclaims that they have clearly stumbled into an epic tale just like the old legends, and stand to gain much glory from helping this prophecy along. They move along and camp out on the road.

The group awakens the following day to strangely bland rations; unbeknownst to them Gelion had extracted the salt the night before and applied it to the child's corpse in order to preserve her. They head into the next town on their path, Strathmore, in order to purchase some salt. Gelion buys a silver piece's worth of salt (roughly 200 pounds) for the corpse, and Magnificus gets seventy-five coppers' worth — he applies this to the rations. They inquire about the mysterious elf, who they learn also came this way and no longer wore his false beard during the townspeople's sighting of him. They stay in Strathmore for the night, performing for the inn and earning a free stay.

On the third day the mountains containing Snakebite Pass finally come into sight, and Chunt proceeds to give the group a brief history lesson: He tells them of the fortress Vauban's recent occupation by House Huer's forces after the House Velkin officers stationed at the castle had been assassinated. Magnificus remembers House Huer well as one of the oldest noble houses of Lund, and advises the group to let him do the talking. 

Magnificus is immediately recognized by the guards at the gate of Vauban, who let the group in and invite him as a guest of Lord Huer himself; Chunt oddly decides to stay and guard the wagon instead of joining them for dinner in the castle. As the adventurers are asked to disarm Gelion attempts to hide eight of his twenty-eight daggers in his pants, and decides to show his cock to the guards when they make him leave all of his weapons at the door (they strangely don't detain or harm him for the display, possibly deciding to just restrain themselves from hurting a guest). Magnificus receives a cordial greeting from Lord Huer over dinner but doesn't really make an impression. Gelion, on the other hand, borrows a guitar from one of the soldiers in the common room and plays a song that lifts the men's spirits so well, they feel much more inspired to annihilate their Bainite foes. The gladiator-musician receives a tip of three gold pieces but asks for the guitar instead, and Lord Huer grants his wish as well as passage through into the Duchy of Lund. Asking about the elf they learn that he's no longer wearing a hat, and is characterized as someone with quite the attitude; the soldiers recall him refusing to refer to the head of house as Lord Huer, though he did pay the toll and make his way into Lund. The guards advise them on their way out to exercise caution in Lund, with the roads being as bandit-ridden as they are.

Finally out of Bain, Magnificus starts on the road to his solo comeback career; he proclaims himself as Magnificus, no longer a member of the band STYLEMACHINE, and proceeds to sing as well as he can at every town they pass on their route. Over the first day of such showboating he earns a silver piece's worth in tips, and hears a rumor that a bastard heir of House Velkin was found and assassinated in the port town of Old Ashton. Gelion correctly deduces that this was the murder they'd seen the authorities investigating when they'd left that town mere days ago. That night they happen upon a man standing alone in the middle of the road between some lightly forested hills; Gelion urges Chunt to keep the wagon moving. They ride right past the hidden bandit ambush, easily avoiding the skirmishers' arrows and making haste towards safety in the town of Woodhurst. Once again the group's performance arts earn them a free stay at the inn.

Their fifth day of travel goes by uneventfully, though at night they come upon a scene of slaughter; evidently a group of bandits and merchants that managed to kill each other to the last man. Garzad hears some movement off to the side, and hurls his hammer; this causes the group to discover that four of the scattered corpses have risen as zombies and are shambling towards their wagon. The group is clearly ill-equipped for combat as Hamilton and Gelion nearly go down, prompting Chunt to finally draw his mace and show off his skills from the battlefield. 

As the group settles down to heal their wounds, Garzad attempts to draw upon his wild magic to glean the source of this undead menace; he fails to learn much beyond them being animated by "dark magicks" and concludes that this must be the work of 'that foul necromantic elf' they've been following.

Seeing that their own meager healing spells aren't enough, they decide to rest up at the town of Millstone (known for having been built around a ruined library). They inquire more about the elf and learn that he goes by the name Bishop Laurence (though the townsfolk swear that he doesn't look religious at all); he was asking about purchasing a property in town, though none are for sale in Millstone. They'd urged him to look around the town of Peterburgh instead, a haven for gopniks from distant Barovia (another Aetherian realm separate from Tieresia and Dominus). The place is coincidentally on the party's route to Padavona, thus they agree to make a stopover in search of this mysterious Laurence.

That night in Millstone, Garzad is plagued by nightmares of a pale-haired elf in white, whispering something in Elvish…which he sadly does not speak. Garzad describes his nightmare to Magnificus the next morning, who immediately recognizes the description of his fey patron…and opts to not tell Garzad, who concludes that he has truly become an agent of prophecy.

The sixth day of travel sees the group arriving in Peterburgh, where the resident Barovians direct them to 'Bishop' Laurence's recently-purchased holding: A previously-abandoned house on a hill on the outskirts of town. Basil stays behind to guard the wagon and the rest investigate, being greeted by boarded-up windows and a raven looming at them from the roof.

No one answers as they knock, and Gelion attempts to draw their quarry out by playing his guitar loudly; a wand pokes out from one of the windows and a sleep spell is cast, instantly knocking Chunt and Garzad out. The ensuing fight sees Magnificus and Gelion shaking off a barrage of paralysis spells, before Gelion opts to simply break through one of the windows; he successfully smashes through only to discover that their assailant had stepped away from the window, avoiding the lunge and polymorphing Gelion into a trout.

Magnificus manages to shake off more paralyzing spells from within the house while returning fire with eldritch blasts and completely failing to hit through his dodgy opponent's cover. He hears the sound of earth moving behind him and turns around to see a quartet of what appear to be men in trenchcoats and tricorn hats, with their faces completely covered up by their high collars and some wraps. As they four slowly walk towards the nervous warlock, someone claps him on the shoulder from behind. He turns around just in time to be punched out cold by an elf with the words:

"Welcome to the family, son."

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