Allen's Forgotten Realms
Kai-Draeger/Aliana/Trau : Who’s following whom?
Kai-Draeger finds himself walking down the river section of Daggerford, south of the Temple of Lathander. The Temple also serves worshippers of Amaunator, so it is a place known to him. Unfortunately, his distant Cormyrian brother-in-arms Sir Isteval is not in town, and he would be the only reason the dragonborn would tolerate the crush of transients and caravans that descend like locusts upon the town of – well, that wasn’t very charitable. Kai
banishes the thought from him, and it is quickly replaced by curiosity and concern. Adriana is in town, far down the street, checking out something near the jail or smithy – who knows? What he does know is that he’s adventured with her before, and the elf does not possess … strong moral fiber. She couldn’t be up to any good.
Trau is sitting in his new place, listening to the ramblings of Derval Ironeater. The venerable dwarf has been the blacksmith in this town forever, charging high prices for his work and his weapons, but well worth the cost. Harder to swallow are the stories, Great Moradin, the stories. They go on and on, interspersed with ramblings about the good old days and not-so-subtle hints that Trau needs to hurry up and make a few batches of a “proper local dwarven ale,” not that he’s had the time or the supplies to do anything of the sort. But in the middle of his ramblings, he happens to catch a glimpse of a dragonborn he adventured with once or twice, Kai-Draeger was his name, and the dragonborn is heading past his shop, down the street, as if he’s on an important mission.
Adriana is standing in the street, letting the crowd be a cover for her, as she cases the local jail. Not that she would want to be anywhere near here, but the drow was taken here for questioning, and she saw where he hid whatever stuff they wanted before he was taken in. No stuff, no evidence, and then the drow would owe her one. Right? Whatever it is, it has to be profitable, and she was about down to eating her shoelaces in order to survive. All she has to do is get close to the jail itself and take the bag of stuff that he dumped in that barrel over there, all without being seen…
Kai is 120’ or more from Adriana, with a huge crowd in the way. Adriana is perhaps 20’ from the jail, but in a crowd and in broad daylight. And Trau is 20’ from Kai, but inside a building, but with a door and window on the street side.
Aliana looks for her notepad, then recalls she left it with the circus. Damn! Hmm, how to write a note? She considers slipping the Drow something, something else, but then thinks better of it. If the Red Wizard sees whatever it is, he will have one up on the Drow, and on her, and will likely find a way to use it against them both. There’s a better way, though.
She looks around, and spots that paladin, the part-dragon one she knew briefly before. Kai-Draeger is his name, she recalls with ease. Better than him, she thinks. He had started “forgetting” her name, calling her Adriana, after she had beaten him at dragonchess. Perhaps it was pride, perhaps just forgetfulness, she is not sure, but she had reminded him a few times and he had enjoyed continuously calling her the wrong thing, or so she believes. Now, he is there, walking among the throngs of people who are outside enjoying what is probably a very brief break in the weather. Is he watching her? She hopes not.
She had only been here five days, but that had been long enough to go through her gold at an alarming rate. She had drunk most of it. It hadn’t been her intention, of course. But the bottles of Utterdark Wine she had bought were just too good to pass up. She had spent her days in the Silver Flood, drinking, singing, and playing dragonchess, and had realized four days had gone by so quickly when she’d noticed she had only one bottle of the wine left, and no gold. That was when she had sobered up. Well, this morning, really.
Now though; time to act. As soon as the rain returns in full force, Aliana walks as she always walks, with purpose and as though she owns the place, over to the barrel. She attempts to act like she owns the barrel.
This was her plan: She pulls out her dagger, squats, and quickly carves a few symbols into the side, right near the top. She carves the Elvish word for ‘silver’, then the Common letter ‘F’, then ‘17’ and ‘A’. Her room number at the Silver Flood. She shares the smallest room, in the attic, practically, with the Flood’s whore, Brianna. The arrangement is that Aliana stays out of the room from after dinner until the wee hours, and then she can safely enter it and take her bed in quiet. They had split the room in half with a large dirty blanket, and Aliana had jokingly called the two new rooms 17 A and B, after their occupants’ names. She’d had to wait out in the hall a few times, listening to Brianna’s fake moans escaping from under the door, until the whore’s work was done.
She quickly eyes her handiwork. Easy for anyone to figure out, she knows, but first they would have to look there. She turns the barrel so that the carving is next to the wall. The Drow would look, when he found his goods missing.
The Drow will be released soon, she figures, since the jail is already full and more drunks will need places to dry out starting tonight, or maybe even this afternoon, with all the festival goers denied their games and forced instead indoors where food and drink are aplenty; that and the fact that there would be no evidence, and the guards’ predisposition against Drow would, should, be countered by the magistrate’s desire for order and justice. They would let him go, he would wait until after midnight, and go look for the sack. He’d find her carving, and pay her a visit. Well, that is the plan.
Trau having heard the story of Bruenor Battlehammer and how he returned our folk to our rightful home… For the third time this week, interrupts Derval and ask if he would mind watching over things while Trau goes to see an old friend all the while heading for the front door. The brewmaster easly picks up his shield and battle axe and straps them in place on the way out. He leaves Derval with a look of surprised at the interruption.
When Trau gets into the street, he catches up to the dragonborn and call out to Kai-Dreager.
Aliana reaches the barrel, does her posturing, looks around, and decides that she’s done a good job of ‘claiming’ the item. She does draw the attention of a few passers-by, but they go on about their business. Also, moving to the barrel takes her out of the direct line of sight of the dragonborn, at least for a moment or two.
Less successful is the carving; that takes time, and by the time she’s finished she’s pretty sure Kai should be nearly on top of her. The good news is, no one has raised the hue and cry over what she’s doing, even if it’s unusual for an elf to own a barrel next to the jail.
Kai makes it farther down the street, and he suddenly sees the elf dart out of sight towards…the jail? Strange, but with the crowd it’s hard to tell what she’s doing. He gets farther when he’s interrupted by a familiar voice:
“Aye, Kai mind if I tag along with you” it really doesn’t matter where you are going, I am about ready to kill a family friend and that would be bad for my clan."
Trau, thanking Kai for the blessing begins to look around to try and identify Aliana’s whereabouts. He realizes that with his size and the number of others about, there’s very little chance in spotting her, so just decides to stay on Kai’s heels.
Aliana opens the lid of the barrel and removes the sack, guessing at what may be in it in case she has to make something up. She looks to see if there is another exit to the alley as she replaces the barrel’s lid.
Kai says, “Trau, let’s go see what Alaina’s up to. She tends to get in trouble if she’s not being watched over and right now, she’s on her own.”
He turns and smiles his toothy grin at Trau, “Let’s see if we can redeem her, eh?”
The lid of the barrel goes down, Aliana is holding the sack, and she looks up to see Kai and Trau reach the spot in the street she was standing at a few moments ago. They’re looking right at her.
Kai and Trau reach where Aliana was standing before, and see that she is next to the jail, holding a sack in her hand.
Aliana looks up to see Kai and Trau standing there looking at her.
She smiles and says, “Oh, hi guys, fancy meeting you here! I guess everyone’s here for the festival. Hey, I’ve got to get back, but why don’t you come with me. We’ll have a drink, play some dragonchess. The Silver Flood has Utterdark wine, and there’s a girl there you might like to meet.” Aloof as usual.
She walks out of the alley, past them, and starts off toward her inn.
As Aliana walks by, they can see she is dressed all in black. Boots of leather, with a leather lace on each, going almost to her knees; cotton pantaloons, dyed black, hugging her legs and hips; a silk shirt, loose fitting and with a silky sheen, but mostly covered by her leather armor, which is currently buttoned up to accentuate her curves, flatten her stomach, and push up her bust as is the current (and usual) style. She sports two short swords and two daggers, all of whose scabbards are wrapped in fine black cloth, with just a bit of steel showing on each.
The black clothing matches her smooth jet hair, but all those are in contrast with her light skin and deep blue eyes. Those eyes, simultaneously bright and laughing, penetrating and observant, calculating and sardonic, knowing eyes with long lashes and thick black, expressive brows above.
Trau smiles and readily agrees to drinking and whatever that second thing she said was and begins to follow her back to the Silver Flood. Whistling a happy tune, now that he is away from Derval and on his why to drinking the afternoon away.
Kai nods, noting Aliana’s garb. He stands there, his silver scales glinting in the sun with his armor and weapons clean and polished. He too was out and about, ready for action.
As he falls in step with her, he says, “What did you borrow this time Aliana and who will I need to protect you from, besides yourself of course?” He moves along with her, his weapons swaying as he moves, his presence clearing a path in the throngs.
“What do you think of the new of the Tattooed Man and the attack by orcs on the local mansion?” Kai is disturbed, but he has a desire to see Justice done, and does not believe the Tattooed Man is involved that attack, but he’s probably involved in something…
Aliana smiles at Kai and Trau again. It would be good to have them with her, to give her some respectability. “Nothing borrowed, just helping an acquaintance, Scalypants. The tattooed man, you mean the Red Wizard? I dunno much about him, except he hangs tomorrow. I get the feeling everyone expects him to escape before then though.” She moves with ease next to Kai through the crowds, keeping an eye out for anyone suspiciously watching or following them.
“Hey Trau, you have to try this Utterdark wine. Even if you don’t drink wine, these are some heavenly spirits! I’m down to my last bottle, though.” She recalls what Trau and she have in common – they both like drinking, a lot. Today she will have to keep sober, though. Business to deal with, plus she’s running out of coin.
The closest place to eat and drink is, of course, the Silver Flood, where Aliana has a room and Trau’s building is practically across the street. It’s a busy place today, with all the new people looking for a place to stay and the weather turning foul. The conversations around them mostly deal with the captured wizard, but also the orcs that raided the estate and the Duke’s promise that patrols would be beefed up in the area.
Aliana enters the Silver Flood with Kai and Trau, giving her usual wave to the staff and regulars there. She snags a table for Kai and Trau, and says, “I’ll be back in a moment.” Then she goes over to Reece the barkeep and says, “Hey, Reece, those are my friends. Treat ‘em well, okay? I’ll have a glass of Utterdark. Just ONE today, for now.”
Then she runs up to her room, knocking and waiting first, and going in. She puts the sack on her bed, and covers it in an extra blanket, then grabs her dragonchess set, goes back to the main room, collects her wine, and joins the others. She plans on watching for the Drow for the rest of the day, figuring they’ll let him out of there soon to make room for other, more disorderly, revelers.
Kai takes the seat offered, the bench groaning under his weight as he settles in. Watching Aliana run off, he says to Trau with a rueful shake of his head, “I fear our friend is being clever again… She will get us all in the cells if we are not careful.”
When a barmaid comes within reach, he says, “Blessings of the morning on you. Bring two flagons of dark brown ale, if you have it.”
When Aliana arrives, he lets her set up the chess set, knowing it will be a good opportunity to cover their discussion. When it is set, he says, “What was in the sack, Aliana?” He moves his first piece and waits for her responses…
“Nothing for you to worry about,” says Aliana back to Kai, as she starts to play the game. She keeps one eye on the door. “Do you think they’re hiring good people to go after those orcs? ’Cuz I could use the work. I gave up on the traveling circus, even though they did some good stuff for a good cause. My brother pissed me off one time too many. How about you guys? Anything good happen to you lately?”
She wonders if she used the word “good” enough times to soften Kai.
Aliana resolves to buy some new clothes once she earns some money. She likes black, and leather, but people always assume the worst of her when she wears them. Perhaps a frilly dress, or maybe the scribe look would be good on her.
As she thinks (about both the clothes and the game), her long eyelashes flutter frequently, reminiscent of butterflies on an aster.
Kai smiles at the references to good. If only saying made a difference…, he thinks to himself.
At the topic of the orcs, Kai straightens his tabard depicting the Sun rising and says, “I have not heard, but I would not be surprised. If they do, I hope I can get on the mission to bring them to justice.” Feeling his scan coin in his pouch, he says, “The reward would be well worth the trouble as well.”
“I wonder if they’ll make an announcement about it at the hanging,” Aliana thinks aloud. “I suppose we’ll find out tomorrow. Hey Trau, want to try my wine? It’s damn good.”
Lass, I will try any spirit once. I might find something in the taste that I would add to my own brews.
By the way if either of you do hear of a job, let me know. Getting my dad’s old place cleaned up and my brews going has taken most of my reserves. I’m good for a few more days, but need to bring in some coin to keep things moving.
Trau takes a sip. This is not bad, not strong enough for me or my kin but not bad at all.
“Ah the strength issue. Sometimes it’s good to look for something else in your drink; strength isn’t everything. Sometimes it’s nice to have a drink that has…… charisma, to persuade, charm or just pleasure you. Like in love, or sex rather, strength and subtlety are two sides of the same bed,” says Aliana.
Outside, the rain seems to be getting stronger. The inn doesn’t have a north-facing window, but there is the sound of horses to the north, as if a company of guards is patrolling down Water Street.
Kai listens to their banter and judges the board. Without joining in their banter, he takes a swig of his drink and says, “Trau, they will undoubtedly be looking for some fine folks to go bring the orcs to heel and to find the lost peasants and others.” He looks up from the board and out the window. “The rain may even drown other’s interest in finding them.” He looks away from the rain disinterestedly, and says, “I for one will take on the quest to find those responsible and bring them to justice.” He looks over the board at Aliana and Trau and says, “Yes, the money too, as I need supplies, but they must be brought to heel.”
He pushes the board to the side and says, “You both seem mildly interested in this mission already, so I would ask if you would want to join me? I could use your skills in dealing with these orcs.” He smiles his toothy smile and says, “So my friends, what do you think? Want to get wet and deal with some orcs?”
I have been a friend to you for some time now Kai, so it should go without being said that if you get a commission to go after the orcs you can count on me.
Trau turns to look at Aliana as says, sometimes strength in exactly what is needed, but in this case we will also need someone with your talents and flare for the sneaky. You with us lass?
Aliana smiles and looks at the two. She raises her glass and says, “Hell, yes, let’s kick some orc butt!” She needs to get out and do something, she realizes, and, pay or not, hunting down orcs and rescuing peasants sounds perfect.
She clinks it against the others’ drinks, not too hard though, and laughs. Then she stands up and starts singing a song about some Dwarves routing some hobgoblins, only she replaces the hobgoblins with orcs, just this once. She plays her clave (two smooth wooden cylinders) as she sings, and they provide the rhythm and some sound effects of when orcs get knocked off.
By now, with the rain outside, the place should be full of drunk festival goers. Hopefully they’re not to mindful of a mediocre performance.
Kai, not wanting to spoil her festive mood, let’s her sing. He does help keep the beat by clapping to match her. When the song is over, he says, “Stay here and I will speak with my temple and see if they have any influence. Perhaps we can all gain from this and bring some peace to this region.” With that, he downs the rest of his drink and rises. “I shall return as quickly as possible.” With that, he moves out into the rain. Not even a cold rain could dampen his spirits though, not now! Prospect for adventure AND the saving of Aliana’s soul. He smiles his dreadful smile and heads to the church.
Aliana knows her song was not her best. The regulars here knew that too, but all the new festival goers didn’t. Oh well, nothing to do now. She had tried too hard, but had been excited about the prospect of an adventure, something away from her “charity” work with the circus.
Her eyelashes close and open rapidly as she considers something.. “Back in a sec,” she says to Trau, and walks upstairs to her room. She unlocks the door, steps inside, and locks it again; then she goes to her bed. Taking out a dagger, she uses it to carefully open up the sack. It wouldn’t do to have a sack full of human heads, or certain other things, sitting up here.
She takes a look inside.
There’s a lukewarm response to Aliana’s song, though her performance isn’t strong enough to have the crowd throw money. Kai heads out into the rain, and Aliana up to her room, leaving Trau at the table.
Aliana slits open the bag and sees things like silver candlesticks, knickknacks, a snuff box, things that someone might steal out of someone’s house. Just a glance shows that the stuff is worth a moderate amount, and probably some things that have sentimental value
to the owner.
Trau is thus the closest to the jail when the explosion happens, being downstairs at the inn. Kai is farther north up the street and Aliana is busy upstairs. There’s a flash of light, screams and the smell of smoke, and the mailed group outside sound like they’re running to the
Aliana hears the shutters rattle from a large blast outside. She wonders what could cause such a thing, thinks of powerful magicks, and naturally, the Red Wizard.
If it was the wizard, the Drow would be dead or escaped, so he wouldn’t need the sack. But if it was something else, as it most likely was, the plan remained. Best to find out, soon.
She ties up the sack and leaves it where it is, heading downstairs to pick up Trau and go join the gawkers in the rain.
Trau, feeling the impact as a physical force slightly before the report hits him sits stunned for a few moments, the remembering that Kai had left only a few moments before scrambles to his feet and looks towards the stairs.
Seeing Alana he yells at her Kai was out there and starts for the door.
Aliana hadn’t thought that Kai would have been where the explosion was, but Trau raised the point that he could be. In any case, other innocents, even children, could have been injured.
She runs out the door after the Dwarf.
Kai was walking towards the temple when the jail exploded – at least he thinks it was the jail. The rain made it hard to tell and the explosion knocked him off his feet on the wet cobbles.
He picked himself up of the wet stones and, ears ringing slightly, yells back toward the inn, “Trau, get Alaina and come to the jail!” Not waiting to see if he was heard, Kai breaks into a lumbering, jingling run toward the jail.