A giant anteater-headed boy looks over the Great Wall of China

Session Two: The Magician’s Assistant

The hall ahead of them was impossibly lit, blinding light surrounded them without the smallest of shadows. As sobriety started to take Xaljin, he began to notice barely perceptible holes in the walls and ceiling but was too focused on running to investigate further.

As the troupe burst through the door at the end of the hall, all except Cybille were greeted by darkness. As their eyes re-adjusted to the darkness, the group became aware that they were currently surrounded by people with weapons drawn as Cybille stood next to a thin man dressed in black clothing whose face was obscured by a roiling black mass.

Upon explaining why they were here, the man beside Cybille simply nodded and the threat decreased. They would learn that the man, called The Black Mask, was the leader of this guild before he left for his chambers with Cybille in-toe.

Lesras listened out behind them and heard the two Janitorial Squad members, apparently stood at the top of the stairs, referring to the adventurers as vermin. The man they knew as Captain Stolt exclaimed that he was going to “hang them up by their little whiskers and rip their tails off” and promised that they’d see them again in the future.

Now safer and left with a bit of time to themselves, Lesras looked for somewhere to clean up. Not knowing the layout of the thieves guild, Lesras reached out to a blonde human sat at a bench polishing a dagger to ask for a place with water. He was assured that the only place with water was the kitchen and watched up bemusedly as Lesras considered using the only water in the place to clean the filth from his fur...before deciding it was probably best he didn’t, stealing a carrot instead. The two would become fast friends as the human, An Timath va Fasil, would tell Lesras about all of his conquests as a ranger.

Out of sight of the rest of the group, Black Mask let the illusion drop allowing her to see the grey skinned, white-haired drow she was familiar with. She confirmed that his last order had been carried out but accidently gave away that she’d read the note she’d been sent to destroy before completing the mission. A somewhat disappointed Black Mask told her that she would have to be a part of the mission that followed, and with that, the illusion resumed as he ushered her back into the communal room.

Once he had everybody's attention, Black Mask introduced two of the people in the room, outsiders to the thieves guild. One, a kenku named Yagharek with the hint of magic about him - a fellow adventurer whose original mission had now been folded into the task at hand - and the other a gold-skinned tiefling barring the mark of a Ducal mage in training named Starflight, which they would later found out was due to the light of the staff that he used to guide him in the past.

Black Mask deferred to the tiefling, who informed everybody that he’d been told to gather a team of adventurers and bring them back to his master, the head mage of the Ducal estate, Vasili Fayette Greggek Blunderbuss. Everybody agreed - Xaljin going along with it as he had been since the Inn, not entirely sure what was happening in his semi-drunken state - and after a long rest to heal and a casting of prestidigitation by Yagharek to remove the filth from Lesras, the group were almost ready to leave.

A quick look through the library by Starflight revealed a new ritual that he could use that would allow him to communicate with a divine creature to ask one question, should he need to. Yagharek also took a look at a green egg that Lesras had found on a previous exploration, a green egg that had gotten him on the wall of shame in The Blessed Heart. After staring at the egg, Yagharek’s broad visual spectrum allowed him to highlight some perfectly straight but slightly discoloured striations in the egg.

As they made their way through the sewers and streets, the short way and the long way round to the apprentice entrance of the Ducal palace, the members got to know a little more about each other.

Xaljin mentioned that he was a cleric of Oghma, a bard of clerics, which Aenelis nodded appreciatively at. Thuradin shared a bit of his experience as a soldier. Starflight explained that sometimes he’d found himself just walking without knowing why he’d started in the first place. Cybille asserted her skills as a thief and member of Madran’s Favour.

Upon entering the Ducal palace, Xaljin tripped and got a stern word from Cybille about his drinking. While her words rang a bell with him, his willpower to do something about it faltered.

They would meet Blunderbuss in his chambers, all but Starflight - who would set off to make his master some eggs, then forget why he made them and ate them himself - immediately frozen by the head mage. A skittish, jittery man.

Each would justify why they thought they should be part of the team. Each member was convincing enough for him to free them, although Lesras got a little help when Yagharek mentioned the green egg. Taking the egg in his hands, Blunderbuss pressed lightly in a few areas and all of a sudden the top of the egg started to shift into a new position. With a satisfied but jittery nod, he put the egg back and unfroze Lesras.

The Duke had died without children, the result of which would be disastrous for Il’Nantet as the following power struggle would consume everybody. To remedy this, Blunderbuss had enlisted the help of a tiefling warlock named Grace who promised to resurrect the Duke on the condition that he be allowed to take a rod within the possession of the Ducal estate. Desperate, and without knowledge of its power, Blunderbuss had agreed. Grace fulfilled his part of the deal and the rod was his. That’s when they found out what the rod’s power was. A weakened soul could be controlled indefinitely, Grace now controlled the Duke and Il’Nantet as a result.

His first act had been to outlaw adventurers, knowing that they were the most likely to find the only that that would allow a person to wrestle the rod from the grasp of Grace, therefor breaking the control. Blunderbuss wished the party, with Starflight, to go below the city, through a part of the city only accessible from under the palace that hadn’t been visited for centuries to find a bracer from a giant blacksmith.

Before agreeing, Yagharek threw one condition into the deal, the release of a prisoner once completed. Reluctantly, Blunderbuss agreed. Yagharek wasn’t the only person with a request as Starflight, hungry for more magic, asked Blunderbuss for any more spells. Blunderbuss gave Starflight a chance to prove that he could finally control his magic before making a decision. As the pressure was placed firmly on him, Starflight attempted to cast in a controlled matter but in a matter of moments had accidentally caused his entire body to illuminate, temporarily blinding Thuradin. Disappointed but not surprised, Blunderbuss turned down the request until the tiefling had better control.

They were lead through the palace carefully, down some steps, and into a heavily guarded chamber. The thick metallic door at the end of the chamber was opened and down they went.

Down long straight staircases, spiral staircases, and across trapped landings - which Cybille nimbly disarmed - they found themselves coming out into an underground city. Lit by a slight phosphorescence, the buildings ran all the way to the ceiling with the windows and doors bricked up. A mist clung to the floor.