As the first night of the Council adjourned, and much speculation was circling the room about the appearance of The Mask of the Unforeseen Suitor and its fusion with Nobby’s face, the heroes regrouped to depart. The metallic mask was drawing much attention, and King Rostvani beckoned the group over. Everyone else departed the chambers and the king had a servant bring in a small chest.
“I never had the chance to properly thank you for the recovery of my son’s body from the swamps. You have served me and this great city well,” said King Rostvani graciously, in his identifying voice. “To display my gratitude, I’ve assembled these gifts for you and hope that they may serve you well.” He then opened the chest and presented them with 5 very peculiar rings. The 5th the group left with the king because of Quinn’s departure before the council.
One ring was beautiful silver and had a liquid gold pearl on top. The Ring of Mental Power would help Trel retain his psionic energies during battle. Sokuyo received a Ring of Calling to help him summon allies to his side. Dekran’s ring fell to the floor when he tried to pick it up. It felt as if it weighed hundreds of pounds, but when he slipped it on, it was as light as a feather. The king said it was his personal ring he recovered from a giant king to the northwest. This Ring of the Giants allowed the wearer to be more stable on his feet. And finally, Nobby placed a peculiar ring on his finger that immediately began appearing on each one of his fingers in turn. This ring would allow his hands to be slyer, improving thievery.
The king then told them of a ship he gifted to them that was in no position to be added to his small fleet. It needed some great attention, but if they were willing to put the work into it, it would be fit for sailing. After their thanks they departed.
Outside of the council chambers Belkas was waiting with a peculiar looking dwarf at his side. “Gentlemen, we’re in need of some assistance. With the guards stretched so thin due to tightened securities, and the War of Expansion, this drug known as Crystal Venom has hit the streets hard. Mel Faldrin here has traveled this way with Trobar Hammerfall for the council. Mel has been sent to investigate the disappearance of some of Garadun’s gems. We believe they are being used as the crystal substance in the drug."
The gruff dwarf piped in with his heavy accent, “It’s quite simply, they crush the gems, mix ‘em with herbs, imbue ‘em with magic. Then they make you high.” After some small persuasions, Mel accompanied the group out into the city streets. Before they departed the group devised a plan to proceed with. Nobby was to make some contacts on the street and find out more about the distribution. Sokuyo would disguise himself and pose as a user. Upon departing the castle they decided to go ‘visit’ the man Nobby trailed the other night who turned out to be a Shadow Caller.
When they arrived at his Manor, guards were stationed at the front and rear of the house. Apparently they had voiced a complaint that a man broke into their house the other night and threatened them. High class people can afford to pay the guard well. The group attempted to persuade the guards to let them in. The guards obviously looked confused because they knew the Shadow Slayers were a renown group of heroes, but they had their orders.
While one was inside conversing with the woman of the house, she recognized Nobby and asked them not to let them in. Trel, with the power of his book, planted a thought in the woman’s mind that she would be safe talking to them with all these guards present. The guards were just ordering the heroes to leave when the woman opened the door and invited them in. Nobby of course believed it was due to the beauty of his new mask.
When she was alone with them, she looked horrified and asked what he wanted. He said he wanted to meet with her husband, who had an agreement to show him the Shadow Caller hideouts and distribution rings. Nobby patronized her, asking her for tea in her own home. She ended the conversation shortly, and as she left the parlor, Belkas arrived a moment later.
“I thought I made myself clear when I asked you to do your work on the streets. You’ve already begun disrupting civil order. It is time for you to depart.” And with his sternness and implication to leave the group made ready to depart. Just then Nobby received a strong prompting from his new mask to ‘speak with the woman’. Nobby attempted to arrange it, but Belkas wouldn’t stand for it. As they were leaving, the man of the house was returning, acting surprised at their presence. A sinister glare passed between him and Nobby.
However, Nobby was not yet finished. He made his way around to the back of the house and transformed into a rat by the power of his armor. He infiltrated the home and hid in the rafters. With the power of the Mask of the Unforeseen Suitor, he made his voice a boisterous and godlike sound. And yet he whispered. The roaring whisper echoed around the man and woman as they argued in the parlor.
“You will meet me at the pub down the street or I shall return and slay you and all of your family.” Nobby threatened in his menacing amplified voice. It terrified the man and woman, and the man knew what he had to do.
Meanwhile, the group were heading down the snow covered, and lantern-lit street to get some ale at Carlisle’s place. A small 12 year old boy ran out from the alley and confronted the adventurers. He recognized them as Nobby’s friends and pled for their help. Apparently the Shadow Callers were visiting The Family and were slaying the boys. Nobby’s pressure on the man had led to their violent actions to strike out at Nobby where it hurt the most. The adventurers rushed off to help, with Trel sending Nobby a mental message.
Nobby was in a conundrum. He had now transformed and had the man at knife point out in the streets. Realizing he didn’t have time to argue with the man, he threatened him, and shot him in the knee with his crossbow. He took the satchel from the man, as the man called out for the guards. Nobby attempted to draw the attention of the guards so they would chase him to help. The man tossed a small bag of drugs to Nobby and winked at him. Nobby running through the streets opened the satchel to find Shadow Caller garb inside. He attempted to find a hiding place while he ran, to get ride of the contraband, and tossed the drugs and disguise in a nearby ditch.
The guards seemed to be called off by Belkas or another commanding officer and did not follow Nobby.
The party arrived at the abandoned monastery where Nobby’s gang, The Family, resided. Inside Shadow Callers in full disguise were locked in combat with the boys. Several of the boys had already been slain. The Callers had brought two aberrant amalgamations with them. Two tall, goliath-like, grotesque bodies stood in the middle of the room. They had several arms sprouting out of their torso’s and their claws were cutting down boys left and right. The heroes rushed in and began attacking.
Sokuyo and Mel took down one of the amalgamations and then focused their attention on an assassin. Trel summoned a terrifying slender creature that forced his claws inside the minds of his victims. Nobby in his fury did not go into stealth when he arrived, but openly challenged the assassins. He slew several of them mercilessly. The Shadow Callers were no longer a match for the heroes after their months in the swamps. Nobby truly shredded and desecrated the bodies of his enemies.
A moment into the fight and the Father opened his chamber doors to peek out and see the arrival of help. One of the amalgamations grabbed the old man and hurled him into the center of the room, his chest smashing against some rubble. He began calling out to Nobby for help. It was but a matter of seconds before the heroes had saved what boys remained.
Nobby went to the father, lifting him to his feet. It was an odd picture to see the human man leaned so far over to have his weight on the short Halfling. He was so gracious for Nobby’s return.
“My boy, you’ve returned to us! They came to slay us. They caught word you threatened one of their own, so they wanted to punish us. I’m glad you’ve arrived.” The father said.
“Yes, we will kill them all. Their regime will fall, Father.”
“You must help us,” the father pleaded with Nobby, the street urchin.
Suddenly a charismatic and echoing voice reverberated through Nobby’s mind, “No you won’t.” It didn’t take long for Nobby to realize the mask was pressing impending wishes of his own on Nobby’s mind. “Now is your time for a rise in power, you are to take the seat at the head of this gang. Slay the old man.”
Nobby began speaking. “Your time is up, Father. These boys need a stronger leader, and you have been weak. You could not protect them. I am The Father now.”
Sokuyo, catching the uncharacteristic tone in Nobby’s voice, spoke up, “Nobby, what are you saying? This man raised you and cared for you, and you are turning your back on him now?”
“He is a weakling, and if it weren’t for him these boys would have been safe. I will not slay you old man, but you must leave now.” Nobby felt the fury of the mask as it shook his skull, unsatisfied that Nobby had disobeyed it. He pushed the old man towards the door, and with a sad glance back, he hobbled into the snowy night.
Nobby gathered the boys around, as they crawled from behind bookshelves and under beds. They all had weeping eyes, full of sorrow at the departure of their father and the fall of so many of their brothers.
“Come,” Nobby began, and he sent a challenging glance at Sokuyo, “and see the generosity of the True Father.” With that Nobby stretched forth his hands and hundreds of silver pieces suddenly filled the area in front of the boys. The magically conjured coins sent a feeling of delight through the mangy gang. Their loyalties had now switched. Nobby was commanding power. Nobby then removed 3000 gold from his pack and gave it to the boys. He instructed two of them to fix up the monastery.
“This will be a Church unlike any other. A church to the power of men, not of a God.” Nobby smiled, somewhat sinister-like with his new mask.
“And after that,” he stared intently at Sokuyo, “I think I’ll open an orphanage.”
XP Each: 675
-Getting inside house and threatening Shadow Caller: 400 XP
-Assassin and Amalgamation Encounter: 1900 XP
-Saving & Gaining Control of Family’s Loyalty: 400 XP
Total XP: 2700 XP
-Ring of Mental Power (Level 14)
-Ring of Calling (Level 14)
-Ring of Giants (Level 14)
-Blink Ring (Level 22)