(Graian, assuming you're going with Takashi. If not, let me know where you'd go and I'll move you.)
You make your way through the Old Walled City of Skalfier and out into the docks area. You get some strange looks from the guards, but as you have the appearance of a man on a mission and don't seem hostile, they don't bother you.
Coming into the docks area, you come out on the long east/west street of Portside. A great many warehouses and taverns and hole-in-the-walls are here. It's just past Middle-Watch-Two-Bells and the drinking is coming to a stop. Groups of sailors and seamen cluster on the street, not ready to go to bed for the evening. There are a few guards walking about, but it seems to be a relatively peaceful night, all things considered.
TAKASHI to GRAIAN: "I'm not fmiliar with these parts, nor do I know where a priestess of the Light would prefer to drink. Perhaps we should ask a guard."
TAKASHI will walk with GRAIAN and approach the nearest guards.
TAKASHI: "Good evening. Brianinov from the temple of the light has sent us to fetch High Curate Maria, and he thought she might be witnessing to the Light *wink* *wink* in one of the taverns here by the docks. Have you seen her or know where she usually frequents?"
The guard looks at you very carefully and then at GRAIAN and then back at you. She chuckles.
"So Mean Maria is up to her old tricks, eh? Well, go look for the tavern where the boys are leaving with lumps... that'll be where Maria is, teaching the 'sinners' the way of the Light. Well.. at least the Light from her bottle!" she roars in laughter. Her partner nods and chuckles with her. She points to the east. "I've seen a couple of drunks coming back with some lumps from that direction... good luck!"
A short walk later, you hear a CRASHTHUD from a hole in the wall and soon, a man comes staggering out. He is holding his mouth and moaning, and you're pretty sure the front of his shirt is covered with blood.
A peek inside shows an odd sight. The tavern is a dump, little more than a shack with chairs and a bar, clearly a place for getting drunk as fast as possible. The odd sight is that most of the patrons, rough looking seamen and dock workers, are circled along the wall, staying as far away from the middle as possible. In the middle of a room, unsteadily standing and waving a bottle in one hand and a mace in another, is a burly looking woman. She takes a deep swig of the bottle and continues to drunkenly speak about something... her words are so slurred, it's hard to tell what she is saying.
TAKASHI looks over the scene carefully, then looks at his elven friend.
TAKASHI: "Well, I caught the tiger - you're turn to skin it!"
TAKASHI chuckles and waits to see what GRAIAN will do.
GRAIAN looks at Takashi, "Caught is an interesting word, I fear skinning this one will take more than a sharp blade. I somehow think reason will not work here, maybe we could buy her a drink, the bottle is looking a little low on content." Peeking back inside, "We could just ask her to explain the Light in detail and guide us to the Temple, I am sure both of us look like we need saving!"
The drunk Maria continues to witness and drink. At some point, when the bottle is empty, she drops it on the floor and in slurred words, demands another. The bartender brings it out gingerly and hands it to her quickly and retreats.
TAKASHI: "I am not sure that she is one to take deception well, even in her current state. Perhaps the direct approach is the best one to take at this time. Plus, she just had another bottle handed to her. Things will only get worse the longer we wait, for everyone involved. However, you are more diplomatic than I, so I will defer to your decision."
GRAIAN sighs, "Very well, but remember you are the one with armor!" Opening the door he walks in, "Deacon Maria I believe. I am relieved to find you, my friends are in urgent need of your assistance and the power of the Light. We were sent by Brianinov to find you."
TAKASHI will follow GRAIAN into the tavern, and stand by his side just in case things get ugly.
Maria, in mid-swig, sets down the bottle oh-so-carefully and then looks at you with some astonishment, drunken astonishment.
"..not usebd pto being interrupted. are you jan elfb? i have znot seen enlves out and tobua, euxcept for eotsh prissy elvves in their little conclave, or whuatever you call itp. you arpe a nice lookixng elf though. and whos's the good-rlooking man in ahrmor? you say im'm needed adt tehe temple?" she slurs as she waves the mace about. Although not in your general direction. It might even be that she's waving it around to keep herself sitting up.
TAKASHI: "I am TAKASHI, your grace. May I escort you back to the temple with my friend, GRAIAN. Brianinov said that you were the only one that would be able to help us with our DAMNABLE situation. We have three that are extremely sick, and need your help."
TAKASHI will offer his arm to Maria, as he thinks she may need it.
(That warrants a reaction roll... Michael S (chgowiz) rolled 1d12 for a total of 3 ... I think the dice hate you, TAKASHI.)
Maria looks at the approaching TAKASHI with either drunken stupor or drunken bravado, he's not sure with. In either case, she drops the mace and stands up and assumes a wrestling position.
"so gyou wmanna take me dowln, hukh? welhl, dwo your wohrst! i wong't go without a fight!"
(So she wants to wrestle. We can do this as a grapple attack, which you can roll to defend, or opt to use your strength bonus as a penalty to her attack roll. You automatically gain initiative and she's at some disadvantage due to her drunken state. Or you can opt to not fight. Surrender. Or some action similar. Your choice, TAKASHI!)
TAKASHI hands GRAIAN his sword and shield, then turns towards Maria.
TAKASHI: "I don't think the LIGHT will mind a bit of good natured wrestling this evening?"
With that, the Eastern fighter lunges in towards Maria, attempting to shoot past her flailing arms and drop his shoulder into her sternum, wrapping his arms around her as he does so. He is hoping to knock her down, and perhaps drive all of the wind out of her sails.
(TAKASHI has no strength bonus, but he will attempt to subdue the drunken priestess as best as possible.)
TAKASHI rolled 1d20 +3 for a total of 18
Maria also doesn't appear to have exceptional strength, so her ability must come from a stout constitution. Or practice. Or both. Either way, she (Michael S (chgowiz) rolled 1d20 -2 for a total of 10) tries to avoid you, but falls in a drunken heap, with you having her in a hold.
The others in the bar let out a cheer and crowd around a bit to see what will happen.
(You can now go for pummeling or a pin. A pin will make it very tough for her to escape.)
TAKASHI has severe reservations about pummeling Maria, a woman AND a servant of the LIGHT, so he will go for the pin.
TAKASHI whispers to her: "I will not hurt you, as you do good work in this world. We need help to cure three people who have encounteret the DAMNED. Please!"
TAKASHI rolled 1d20 +3 for a total of 18
Maria is now pinned. She grunts and struggles and wheezes, but is unable to free herself. She sees the bottle lying out of reach of her arms and tears roll down her cheek.
"alxl i want is another nidrk. whly can't i have aunother dbrink?" she cries.
TAKASHI: "If you help our friends now, afterwards I will come back down here and drink with you until dawn, on my coin. Tears don't befit a lady like yourself. Come now, we've work to do!"
At some point, your words must've made some impression on her, as she huzzes a sodden "OK..." and you feel her relax.
TAKASHI: "Can you pick up her dropped mace, and then help me get her back up to the temple? I pray we are not too late."
With that, TAKASHI will attempt to get Maria on her feet, and wait for GRAIAN's help to get her moving towards the temple.
Graian picks up the mace and moves to the other side of Maria to help her walk, "Interesting way of preaching she has," he comments as they move towards the door.
TAKASHI: "Aye, the LIGHT comes in mysterious ways and many forms, or so I think I've heard CALLIN say in the past. I'm wondering what he'll think about this..."
"Huzzzzzzzzz...." Maria groans as you both pick her up. She is a very solid woman and it's quickly obvious that this will be a long... slow... smelly... drag/walk back to the Temple.
The other folks in the tavern start to fill out the room as you leave, with a lot of laughter and some good-natured comments about Maria. It's the type of jokes that are made of regulars.
As you pass the guards again, they chuckle. "Aye, Maria be deep in'er cups! Good luck, mates!" one calls out.
It's a really long drag. Maria's head lolls between TAKASHI and GRAIAN and she breathes foul, liquor-smelling exhales at each of you.
TAKASHI: "We've spent way too much time carrying people as of late, GRAIAN."
GRAIAN nods, trying to keep his head turned away from Maria "Indeed, maybe this will be the end of it, at elast for a little while."
It takes almost three quarters of a bell to maneuver, cajole, wrestle and outright drag her to Temple. The night deacons, forwarned, are waiting by the door and walk with you as you take Maria to the central prayer area.
Just as you reach the central prayer area, she seems to regain conciousness. "Huhhhh... oh, Temple... " she mutters and manages to stand on her own and shake you both loose. "Fine.. s'fine... leggo..." she mutters.
Once freed, she unsteadily walks to the central pool, kneels down and starts to splash water on her face and drink it. The night deacons at first start to object, then sigh.
"It is her way... a powerful woman in the Light, she is... but not very respectful." one of them says in a rueful tone of voice.
After a few minutes of noisy cleaning and drinking, she stands up. It's hard to believe this woman is a powerful priest, with as bedraggled, wet and dirty she looks, and swaying slightly, as she tries to focus on you all.
"Someone.. sick?" she says. "OK, let's go..." she turns and walks to a wall ... and walks right into it. WHAP! THUD!
One of the night deacons runs up to help her up and the other gently opens a hidden door that was three feet away.
"Uhh... someone move damned door again?" she demands.
"No, canon... here let me help." says the deacon assisting her.
You are taken down a curving hallway that seems to run along the circumference of the circular prayer area, and then into a narrow passage. At the end, you see an open door with light, and ATACIUS, TOBIAS and Brianinov standing outside the door.
Brianinov looks at Maria with concern. "Oh dear... she is a bit drunk."
TAKASHI: "Yes, we had to do a bit of convincing to get her to leave the tavern, and she was well in her cups long before we arrived."
TOBIAS winces when he sees the condition Maria is in, and looks questioningly over at ATACIUS.
ATACIUS just shrugs at TOBIAS, a look of amusement and disbelief in his face.
Maria seems to have recovered some of her wits by the time she gets to Brianinov, although she seems a bit tipsy still. She reaches out and affectionately pats his cheek.
"You collected some friends, dear boy? Hmmmm... " she peeks into the room, sees CALLIN, Claudia and a tied up woman. She then turns and looks at Brianinov, TAKASHI, TOBIAS, ATACIUS and GRAIAN outside.
"This... is an interesting sight. I'm not sure this party is appropriate... for the Temple." she says with a grin on her face.
CALLIN upon seeing Maria bows deeply. "Thank you for coming so quickly Canon Maria. I'm afraid the LIGHT has not yet shown me how to conquer the curse of the DAMNED"
Maria gives CALLIN a bemused look and looks at the woman tied up.
"She's been this way a long time. Poor child." Maria says in a suddenly steady and matronly voice. She shrugs aside the dirty sleeves on her arms and sits besides the woman the bed and strokes her face.
"Poor thing, poor thing..." she croons and begins to sing a hymn and prayer mixed in. To CALLIN, he sees her suddenly wreathed in a pale aura, one that grows steadily as she continues the hymn.
On the bed, the woman suddenly jerks and her face stiffens in a rictus of some some sort of pain while her body twists. A drawn-out moan comes from her, descending into a gentle sob. After a few minutes, Maria finishes the hymn and prayer and the glow that CALLIN had seen subsides around her.
Maria sighs. "How long...? Are there more?" she asks.
She strokes the woman's head, who seems to have fallen asleep.
TOBIAS stands open-mouthed and wide-eyed in amazement at how easily Maria worked her miracle cure.
CALLIN awe struck at the power of the LIGHT and Maria responds after a moment of hesitation. "Unfortuanatly they attacked us in a maddened state, and we were outnumbered. Only due to TOBIAS' quick thinking to ensnare the womans rage were we able to save her. Myself and Claudia (CALLIN motions to the girl) were biten during the conflict, so we may be infected as well. We didn't have time to fully search the Farmhouse and outcropped building in which we were attacked....there may be more that lay undisturbed"
TAKASHI eyes the woman as she sobs.
TAKASHI: "Is she cured? That quickly?"
"So many questions... one at a time!" Maria snaps.
"Yes, she is cured, but she will need sleep and time. Many of those afflicted with the Damned have lain that way for one or two ten-years. Sometimes more. It's hard to say how long she was one of the afflicted, but it's been awhile."
"Come here, child." she says gently to Claudia, who steps forward hesitantly. "Oh, I am so sorry you have had to go through this. It will be alright, I'll make sure of it. Once we get you checked out, you need to eat and sleep though!" she says.
She glances at the rest of you. "Taking a child near the Damned? What were you thinking?"
She turns her attention to CALLIN. "I'm surprised you don't know this prayer, but not everyone remembers. Here, sing with me and pray..." and she begins to sing a song of praise to the Light, mixing in a prayer of sight and wisdom. Her hands move in practiced ways, holding her holy symbol. It is not hard to follow and soon, CALLIN, you feel the power of the Light within you and you can "see" that you are healthy and not afflicted, and neither is Claudia. The woman, who was Damned, has a faint "stain" on her skin, but it is fading fast. Maria smiles and nods at you. "Yep, that's right. It'll be gone soon, and fortunately, you both are non the worse for wear!"
"Now..." she says gruffly. "Let's tend to this one here... (she takes Claudia by the hand) and let this woman sleep in peace. Brianinov! Be a dear and have one of the deacons sit outside. She'll probably sleep a couple of days, but if she wakes, come get me. I'll have to stay in the temple till then... " she sighs dejectedly.
"And put up with Ottolum and hizzoner-the-emissary..." she grumbles. "Enough to drive one insane!" She is leading Claudia out as she says this, and Claudia has a fascinated smile as she's led away. She looks back at TAKASHI and waves.
"CALLIN, you may stay here of course." Brianinov says. "But... the others... we don't have the room, but there are places to bed for the night in town." He seems apologetic as he says it.
CALLIN: "Thank you for the lession. I am humbed and honored for the training." Callin says bowing again to Maria.
Then CALLIN turns to Brianinov "Thank you Brianinov. I must first get my horse back to the stables and give them their due. But yes I shall stay at the temple tonight to help Maria with Claudia and this woman."
CALLIN then turns to the rest of the group. "SHall we stable my horse then get you all settled in a room for the night?
TOBIAS nods. "She was pretty great. But who is... Ottolum? and the emissary?"
GRAIAN is beginning to realize that the Light is very powerful, "Yes the horses need to be stabled, I have a room at the Golden Coach, Shaiman is not going to be happy to see me back with no news.."
With the horses stabled, the night passes with you all getting a well-deserved rest. Claudia stays at the Temple for the evening, as a guest of Maria's. A message is waiting at the Golden Coach for TAKASHI that Claudia is doing well and can join him when he's ready to take her back to Appleton.
CALLIN, you receive word from Maria that the lady has regained a bit of conciousness, long enough to name herself as Carissa, then she fell back asleep.
What are your general plans for the next week of game-time?
TAKASHI feels that as Claudia is safe and disease free, she should be taken back home to Appleton to calm her parents' fears and assure them that she is alright. It will also allow her time to rest and recover from the wounds she suffered in the fight (those that remain).
Before leaving, he will look into purchasing armor for Claudia, as she needs protection if she intends to leap into battle again in the future.
TOBIAS' priorities would be:
1. Go back to the farm and see if there are any Damned left out there
2. Get Claudia home
3. Pool any coin found in that chest with what ATACIUS would get from selling the jewelry and divide it out, so he can use his share to:
4. Pay back GRAIAN, refill the "savings" for the village, and buy arcane materials for writing in his spellbook, doing rituals, write scrolls, etc.
5. See if anybody wants to go back to Athenum.
I'm good with trying to go back into Athenum (eum?).
ATACIUS haven't sold the gems yet, He just had them appraised.
That's OK. We can see how much is there hidden at the farm, see how much we need for all that TOBIAS want to do, and if we need more we can sell some of the gems.
Also, is there a fee for Canon Maria services?
Because of CALLIN's association with the Temple, she did not charge for donations. That may not always be the case though!
CALLIN would want to make sure that this girl Carissa is taken care of. Then would ask Maria if she would wish to join us on a trip to the farmhouse to ensure that any damned that might remain are cured, as well as give those that have fallen a proper passing. After that I would like to go back to Appleton and try to help ease the fears with Claudia's family ( if we can ).
Good idea, re: Maria. Hopefully there won't be as much ready spirits in Appleton as compared to here - she could use a good dry-out and some proper work of the LIGHT to refocus her. She might also spill some of the issues driving her to drink if we get her out in the country and gain her trust fully.
There are some obvious troubles with the temple of LIGHT in Skalfier, and the associated leaders there. It would be good to get more information on them. Seems that Brianinov and Maria are "good" priests there, but there is some bad stuff going on as well, which we've heard mention of as of late.
I Agree! CALLIN does have ideas on trying to get an inside scoop on the goings on of the temple as well. It seems that the "LightBringers" are just local thugs, which CALLIN detests...
There's good cider in Appleton for her to try now and then.
That's what I was afraid of...
ATACIUS would like to go back to Athenum. With the bandits, orcs and Lightbingers stirring the pot he thinks it's enough. We don't want to add the elves going to war.
Talking about cider, is it made in Appleton or they just collect and ship the apples to Skalfier? If it is not made in Appleton, ATACIUS thinks it would be good for the village to have a brewery.
TOBIAS likes this idea... and maybe we could have an annual Apple Festival!
OK. So this is what I see:
1. Buy Claudia armor
TAKASHI, she is flattered and even shy when you mention that. She likes the look of leather armor and agrees to allow you to buy it for her, although there's a bit of defiance about her earning her own way. It costs 5 gold to buy the pieces, and there is enough pieces available that fit her for a full suit. She also has kept the wooden sword, and even cleaned it.
TAKASHI: "You have already helped save the life of TOBIAS, CALLIN, and me, so think of it as a well-earned reward."
She smiles shyly at the praise and is very thorough in checking out the pieces and then making sure they are stowed away where she has full sight and control of them.
"Thank you, Master. I'm not sure how I saved your life, but ... I see now why you were showing me the things you did. It all happened so fast, and not like you hear the bards tell the story of big battles and lines and columns and all those things."
2. Check on Carissa.
For the next couple of days, Carissa comes in and out of sleep, very disoriented. Maria says this is normal, especially for victims who have been afflicted for a long time.
3. See if Maria wants to come to the farmstead to see if there are more Damned.
Maria kindly takes you aside, CALLIN and explains that there are probably so many Damned lying around in abandoned farmlands and hamlets, that it would require an army of clerics to heal them all. She would prefer that if you find more Damned, do what you can to restrain them and then come get her.
If there are no other "in-town" actions, then we'll pick up things on the 24th day of Fall, with you heading in the direction of the farmstead and Appleton. To take care of #4 through 6.
4. Take Claudia back to Appleton
5. Check out farmstead
6. Go back to Athenum
7. DRINK! Appleton Cider questions.
TOBIAS, there is cider making and "moonshine" kind of liquor created in Appleton. Sir Flinigan called it his "warm-up" and kept a bottle in his bedroom.
They collect their harvest and bring it to Skalfier for either use in the town, or shipping out into the Duchy.
Great! Sir Flinigan only ever let Tobias drink the kids' cider, but now that he's older, he figures he can probably have a little moonshine, right? When he gets a chance, he'll talk to the folks that do the brewing and see if they want to become partners in putting together an actual big brewery in Appleton... maybe they could become steady suppliers to places like the taverns and inns in Skalfier. Hmm, and we could have a contest to see who bakes the best apple pie in town...
Well, let's see what happens when you get back there!
Yep, those are just plans in TOBIAS' head. Regarding Carissa: While we were there, TOBIAS would've tried to see her when she's awake and see if she was still showing signs of being charmed.
GRAIAN is anxious to go back to Athenum and seach for more information