Sunday, May 3, 2020

Urban Adventuring- The Tale of Ujin Tohl the Viridescent - part 6




The two warlock’s prepare for their acquisition, and Ujin is... well, that would be telling.

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Ujin and Jimnir decided to wait a day before moving forward, to let things calm down after their adventure in the shantytowns. Jimnir was to meet with the saan at the rendezvous point later that day, to inform them to return to a nearby location the next day at the same time. This gave Ujin a day to do whatever he wanted.

Ujin insisted on staying at the Tunker’s Prince Inn, the Inn was a triangular prism of a building, 100 feet on each side, made of burnt orange stone that polished to a shine and caught the morning sun on Ujin’s side. It was 7 stories high, and atop the last storey was an onion top that capped the building, also carved of the same stone, it housed the best suite. The building was a gift from a foreign dignitary for a Lord of a Bhavisyavani House that lost all his belongings to a wealthy merchant. That merchant owed Tunker’s family a favor, and now Tunker had a building facing a public square and sculpture that was also on the nearby canal.

Jimnir grumbled and only agreed to stay as the onion top suite was available, he took it for himself.

Ujin sat munching on one of Tunker Mollwine’s fine creations, a fried bread with a sharp cheese that was exquisite and subtle. There were two suites per floor, the view from his 4th storey window faced away from the mass of the arena, in the neighbouring Ward, and faced over the barracks for the city guards (not the Ward guards he had learned) and since these were all low buildings, it gave him a clear view of everything after that. The city walls were still taller than him, but a slice of the city itself was open. 

A canal snaked by heading north of his building and cutting off the parts of the Ward to the east of him, a canal barge floated by with a pyre spewing smoke into the early morning air, white clad dervishes in animal masks twirled in a religious ecstasy, while a drummer in what appeared to be a trance, blindfolded, beat a skin drum with leather clad hands. 

Ujin could not make out the contents of the fire, but the enthusiasts were druids, he was sure of that.

He watched the birds and owls of the marshes that would appear over the walls and sometimes dive into the city for prey. They stayed away from the druids, Ujin noted with a smile. 

He turned from the window and reviewed his ‘haul’ from this mission so far. He had obtained a pair of potions, one made liquids potable and another gave him some sort of control over plants. 

In this city, Ujin thought, that could be helpful. And with the enemies he is now making by making new allies, the former might be needed to test his food! He took the potions and put them into a belt pouch filled with fabric to cushion the contents.

He had paid Tunker 500gp to have the scroll identified (any minor warlock with a read magic spell…), he had reported back with the news in a sealed envelope, he apparently had a warding scroll that worked against elementals. Tunker had accepted a 200gp surcharge to have a sage consulted, who added some information on the scroll’s limitations. Ujin raised an eyebrow at this, but the sage’s account also stated that the iconography suggested air elementals specifically were hedged, and that air elementals are the most common source of spell based retributive magic, both warlocks and priests summoned lesser elementals for spells of revenge. 

Around here that could be useful, and well worth the 200gp surcharge, Ujin thought.

Ujin had sent a sealed envelope with a gem worth twice that much down to Tunker with one of the girls who worked at the inn when he woke for breakfast and read the note from him with the scroll. The proprietor's two daughters worked there, one was verreryyy tall, and clearly not all halfling, and Ujin had met Tunker's wife, Chamillion Daurtrendle, she was distinctly halfling.

Ujin chuckled, perhaps he should consider some earrings.

He could hear the clash of steel on steel from the garrison yards, enclosed by polygonal barracks that housed the soldiers, they drilled there incessantly. Ujin found the sharp and crystalline sound of metallic weapons clashing a smooth tonic, a staccato beat that accompanied the early morning street traffic. He could glimpse the yards of two of the barracks and watched a group of men with halberds and spears charging a group of men with shield and swords.

The sun danced off of vambrace, breastplate, shield, sword and spearpoint, dazzling his eyes.

Ujin looked south and east over the clothiers Ward where he resided. Streets were a colorful mess of clothing and costuming shops of all kinds. Clothiers displayed their wares on ropes that criss-crossed streets in the ward, Ujin saw the neighbourhood as a beach of multicolored sand. It waved like sand under water in the wind too, thanks to the billowing gaudy fabrics on display.

The warlock for the Ward of House Kecht was Nasim Tellbinder, his tower was made of a golden metal which even Dunwall had been unable to identify. It was like a shard of glass amongst the tree trunks of the other towers in the city, a mere 50’ across but 8 stories tall and shaped like a four pointed star; Tunker told Ujin if you strike its side hard with a weapon it emits a boom so loud those nearby are deafened, and the weapon shatters, Tunker claimed siege engines would do the same if they fired at it. 

If you rap it gently, though, it makes a sound like an exhalation of breath. 

Bright curtains of fabric were streamed from every window of the golden tower, as they twisted in the breeze sparks of the fabric colors would spray across the gold surface wherever the twisting curtains struck the tower. They were rumoured to be woven from extradimensional fabrics.

Ujin watched the tower and the curtains, and the sparks, for a time.

He drank his water and looked at his other acquisitions. Two scrolls. He had been up last night by lamplight reading these scrolls, written in the arcane language of his tribe. When he arrived in his room last night he was disappointed he had not secured a spell book, but scrolls were the next best thing, hard to find at the best of times.

The first scroll was in a bone case and contained spells that were quite powerful, both he had heard of before. The first drew animals to the caster, to do his bidding, they could be large and menacing, or small and terrifying. Ujin immediately thought of how they could be paired with an illusion of animals like them, leading the terrified victims to not know what was and wasn’t real…

The second allowed a suggestion to be planted in many minds at once, again, Ujin contemplated spells to pair with this, using suggestion with an illusory environment could lead to many odd consequences.

The second scroll was in a metal case and had only one spell on it, spells without names were commonly found, named spells were rare, named phantasmist spells were very rare, this one, Skrytý Stín Lukostřelec Z Shon-Sinn, translated loosely as the Stealthy Shadow Archers of Shon-Sinn.

Ujin was captivated by the spell’s possibilities, but wanted it in his book, not cast from the scroll in desperation. He had paid for the suite for the month, and Tunker had told him that the stone table (all the furniture was the same stone as the building) in his room was quite heavy, but if tipped there was a cavity below covered by a stone hatch. Ujin took out his special ink and a steel quill and etched an illusory script on the hatch, that allowed him, Tunker or any of his family to read it, but no others. He added three scrolls, the scroll he had with Illusionary Script and Major Creation, which he did not see using in battle, the scroll with the named spell, and the scroll with the two spells he had heard of. He also added his travelling spell book (enchanted long ago with an illusory script of its own), along with a dagger in case he were forced to open it by someone while deprived of a weapon.

He replaced the table and put the scroll of wraithform, summon shadow and shadow walk, in a scroll case of cold iron warded with an illusory script for Ujin only, into his small pack, worn on the small of his back beneath his cloak of the bat. He always kept this scroll with him, it was his "bail" scroll, when he needed to get out of a tight spot. 

The phantasmist then sat down and pulled over a plate of glistening honeycombs, he had three of them available, requested from Tunker for breakfast the night before, and he had three items before him. 

The first was the large carpet that covered the floor under his bed and radiated out from there to within about 2 feet of the door and the windows to his room. Ujin leaned over and took one of the honeycombs and smeared honey from it on his lips. He spoke the words, “Slazený medem slova z tento pusa být mluvený“, and then kissed the carpet’s edge. He then whispered instructions to the carpet, it shimmered as if polished by an unseen hand for a moment, then faded and looked the same as it had before. 

Now, if anyone stepped on the carpet when Ujin was in the bed sleeping it would scream out,“Murder, death, killers in the room!”

He wiped his lips and took the second honeycomb, he smeared his lips with the honey again, speaking the words, “Slazený medem slova z tento pusa být mluvený“, and kissing the small pack that held his two scrolls on his back. He then whispered instructions.

Now if anyone other than Ujin opened the pack it would scream obscenities in gnoll, as loudly as the spell could possibly make it happen, for ten minutes.

He cleaned up and took the third honeycomb, he grabbed a sling stone and smeared his lips again, he spoke the words “Slazený medem slova z tento pusa být mluvený“ for a third time and kissed the stone. He whispered a last time...

This one was different, it spoke in a clear and forceful voice, and said, “Bring all the men up, and the lizards, short swords and knives only, they won’t hear you coming, but they will taste our cold steel”, when the sling stone was fired or dropped by Ujin.

Placed properly this could panic a single guard or lone target. He took a dagger and scored the enchanted stone so he could palm it in the dark if needed. He placed it alongside another one, scored differently, that shouted a string of curses in saan when it was dropped or shot, but the curses sound like they are being said by a human, saan and humans have very distinct voices. Ujin always carried a few of those for distraction. He planned to use it tomorrow night.

The phantasmist stocked his material component requirements in his pouches and pockets for his excursion tomorrow, colored sand, opal gemstones (black and white), a pinch of diamond dust, he ensured he had enough for a day’s casting for all spells. All his other components were stored in a box under his bed, one similarly protected with runes of illusory script. There were many gemstones and the rarer extra components for his spells. He would not be needing them as he was not taking his spell book with him to rememorize anything.

Ujin sat in his windowsill listening to music all afternoon, minstrels wandered liberally in the Ward. He took dinner, and after sundown transformed into a bat using his magical cloak - from Jimnir’s upper suite (the warlock found this immensely amusing) and flew around the Ward, and around the Broken Sword Inn, for an hour, getting to know the streets and buildings, the canals and crowds that surrounded it. If Ujin needed to hide it was better to know some landmarks. 

He finished off landing in the arms and armor ward, the location of the city arena. It was one of the most dangerous wards in the city. Ujin landed atop a tall storage tower filled with grain. The top was a garden, unoccupied now, the Ujin had spied earlier. The first thing he did, his cloak making him invisible in the shadows, was to take out a pair of opal gemstones, one milky white and the other jet black. He held one in each hand and waved them in an intersecting circular pattern while speaking the words "přízrak oř" several times over. He then motioned upwards with both hands parallel to the ground, a spectral head emerged, night black with a grey mane and milky white eyes, then a neck, then smoky grey hooves and a tail, as Ujin’s phantom steed rose again like a ghost from the grave.

He then whispered the words “Nejsem to, co vidíte” and placed his hand on the top of his head and slid it down over his face, down his body to his feet. As his hand moved down his appearance changed along the way. He was now clad entirely in black, with whisps of white smoke coming from his eyes and mouth, a coiled red rope on his left side, and a bloody red mace at his right side. He wore a long black cloak behind him.

Ujin mounted the horse and it leapt down to a lower building’s roof, rode over that and used canopies of vines and flowers to move across rooftops, it’s smoky, insubstantial hooves dancing just above the greenery below them.

He then leaped down lower to the road, noiselessly they rode through the dark streets he had spent the last hour flying over, he rode alongside the canal, then dashed into side streets to avoid people. At one point he rode up a wagon’s back to leap to a low roof, then a taller roof, then he was running the rooftops with the horse again. Sometimes a shout would be heard behind him, but he would then disappear down  into a dark alley and leave the noise behind.

Ujin rode this way to a crops ward and galloped through fields of tall purple swathed reeds, he skirted a Ward patrol in gold crests on giant lizards too slow to keep up with the spectral pace of Ujin’s dark steed, they shook their spears and their white clad druid screamed in frustration as his animal companions, a small pack of jaguars, shunned Ujin’s enchanted horse and would not give him chase.

Ujin Tohl the Viridecent laughed at their folly.

His steeds smoky hooves made no sound as they shot through the jungle ward with the druid blossom, Ujin steered clear of the blossom but his horse left a mass shift of animals in his wake, as they all moved away from his steed. 

Ujin heard the scrape of iron scimitars and the whispering of prayers in the distance as he plunged through the foliage…

To return to the streets as he made a line past a mass of drunken revellers, some shouted at him as he then diverted to a back alley, came out on a deserted side street, and Ujin charged down here and found a larger street that was mostly deserted. In this way he wound his way back to the Ward next to his. 

He dismounted in a dark area and dispelled his horse. He then proceeded to melt into the shadows thanks to his cloak. He waited and moved in jumps and starts, hiding in shadows with his cloak when patrols or large groups would appear. In about an hour he was back in his Ward, a cloudy night meaning he was completely invisible climbing down into an alley that deposited him out by his inn. When he emerged his change self spell had expired and he was dressed in the clothing of a peasant laborer, what he was wearing before he transformed into the bat for his evening excursion. His only weapon was a knife in his belt. He appeared as nothing more than a worker headed to his job before the morning started for everyone else. 

He walked into the Inn and found Tunker up and making food for the day. The two men talked for an hour before Ujin went to bed and slept for most of the day, woke, memorized spells and suited up.

He met up with Jimnir and the saan the next night before midnight, to complete his task at the Broken Sword, and possibly face Imiran Shinn face to face.

Jimnir had spent part of his day yesterday casing the Broken Sword Tavern. He spent an hour there eating and drinking, soaking up the sounds and sights of the tavern from the inside. This laid the groundwork for his use of scrying magic later that night. After he was satisfied he had been there long enough he tipped well, but not too well, and left.

Jimnir found a spot at an inn just across the street, he reserved a room there for the night and set himself up on the 2nd floor at the window after dinner. When he saw the saan go in he would prepare and cast his spells and determine if he was needed.

Ujin cast a change self spell on himself right before entry to the bar, he appeared as a bent beggar, old and scarred, dressed in white. He limped, and appeared red eyed, filthy and phlegmatic. All eyes would avoid him out of pity and guilt.

Ujin entered the tavern right after midnight. It was a busy evening, the throne was empty, meaning that Imiran Shinn was either out or upstairs in his suite. There were perhaps 60 people in the tavern, mostly mercenaries, some saan, some fishermen, and an assortment of vendors, petty merchants and peasants drinking off their pittance. 

Half the men were likely thieves.

Ujin moved through the tavern, all of the patrons either looked away or looked on in pity, then looked away. He noticed a loud and obnoxious group of human mercenaries on the south side of the room, they might prove handy. He found a seat in the shadows behind that group, Ujin then tossed a handful of copper coins on the table and a waitress brought him the cheapest beer they had. He sipped from the shadows and identified various groups in the tavern. There were a few clusters of saan, from their chatter they appeared to be hunters and guides. There were two or three groups of mercenaries, they wore heavier armor and carried larger weapons. Then there were the in between cases that Ujin assumed were thieves.

He saw no warlocks in the room, but that didn’t surprise him, this was a guild connected tavern, a lot of warlocks would avoid it.

No city guards either.

The saan entered the tavern as planned, Bato, Higg, Minu and Kles, plus the shaman Quass, all came in as a group. They had hidden their tattoos so they were not immediately identified as followers of Jal Bhains, but there were likely saan in the tavern that would recognize one or more of them, so Ujin waited until they had been spotted and no one reacted to relax.

All was in place.

Higg paid for drinks, and when the round came he started a loud, clear and very obscenity laced tirade about the persecution of saan, the abuses they suffered at the hands of humans, and how he sympathized with Jal Bhains, given the corruption in the city.

A few heads turned, the obnoxious group of mercenaries then began to talk loudly as well, one in particular waxed on about how saan were cannibals, how they stole human children, and they should be thankful they weren’t being skinned alive.

Ujin suspected that his men had been killed by Jal Bhains’ forces at some point.

More voices could be heard, some murmuring, a few low spoken challenges were muttered as well.

Ujin decided that now was the time. He reached into his robes and pulled out the scored sling stone he had prepared for just this sort of situation. He tossed it so it landed near the group of loud, obnoxious mercenaries, and the magic mouth on the stone shouted out a string of manifestly offensive saan insults spoken by a human voice. In the crowd it could not be determined who had said it, but it definitely came from the area with the mercenaries.

A group of saan other than Ujin’s took exception to the expletives and informed the aforementioned mercenaries of their mother’s loose morals, their weak bodies, and how humans were too fat and grotesque to eat anyway.

One of the mercenaries picked up a chair and lunged at the nearby saan.

It was on.

Groups around the tavern immediately drew knives and grabbed chairs, staves, bottles and at least one set of cesti.

No one drew a sword as of yet.

Fists flew, as did chairs. Ujin’s saan joined the fray by picking up a mercenary and tossing him across the tavern into a group of sailors. One in particular cursed and took out a cutlass from a backpack and there was a general chorus of shouts around the room.

A saan bit him on the shoulder, tearing it off as he pulled back. 

The sailor collapsed screaming, his cutlass clattered to the ground.

Ujin was confident no one was watching him, and he took advantage of his cloak’s power to meld into the shadows completely. Unseen to all, he removed a scroll from his back pouch, he had been unable to memorize the spell for some reason, so he was limited to casting it from the scroll, once it was cast it was gone for good. 

Ujin sighed, it was the right tool for the job.

He began to read the scroll, as the words came from his mouth the writing on the scroll’s surface shifted and squirmed as if alive, and slowly, but noticeably, Ujin’s body began to fade and become insubstantial as he became a wraith.

Ujin immediately flattened himself against the wall and floated up to the ceiling. The torches along the walls left a pattern of light and dark, Ujin stuck to the dark portions and made it over to the far wall where there was a door. Imiran Shinn had come through that door from what Ujin assumed to be his private suite. The door was deliberately left in shadow so Ujin managed to slide down the wall without being noticed.

There were now two groups of saan, one, who were there before he arrived, was a group of about 12 saan who were not there together but had banded together when the fight started. They were split into groups of 4 and were matched off against groups of mercenaries. 

A few other people had taken out weapons, but most of the saan relied on claws and teeth, as well as raw brawn, and were none the worse for it. Almost the entire tavern was in on the fight at the moment, and the bartender, standing back with a sword in his hand, was edging towards the two headed dogs that were chained on the far end of the tavern.

Ujin slid down the wall in wraithform and slipped through the crack between the door and the mantle. He was confident that he had not been noticed in the poor light, and if he had he would no doubt be mistaken for a shadow.

Ujin floated up the stairwell to another door, this one was iron banded rather than plain wood, the planks were quite thick, and there was a large lock in the front. Ujin slipped in the side of the door in his wraithform, passing the lock effortlessly.

The room beyond the door was luxurious to the point of excess. 

On the walls and on the floors by the walls were leaves, vines, petals, bulbs and fronds, three of the four walls were covered with them. The only other thing on those walls were torch sconces peeking out from under the foliage. 

There were about a half dozen statues, some small, some large, some marble, some jade, others metal, scattered about the room.

There were no couches or chairs, but there were cushions in many places and several low tables scattered in the room. Across the room from the entrance was what appeared to be a bed half-concealed behind curtains, and just beyond that was the only bare wall in the room. It had two pictures on it, one of a rearing black dragon, another of a castle in some distant valley. 

In front of the wall was also an iron cage that held a wooden replica of a man. The replica was clad in exquisite black dragon leather armor, it also had a basket hilted longsword at its side, as well as a pair of axes on the opposite belt. There were no gloves on the replica, nor were there boots. Each hand of the replica had a ring on it, the left had a plain silver band, the right had a gold band with a middle stripe of ebon black. Two of the fingers on the replica had marks where rings had been.

Imiran Shinn had taken his boots and his gauntlets with him, and possibly two rings, anything else Ujin couldn’t be sure about.

The gold and black ring matched the description of the ring Ujin was after though, perfectly.

Ujin could easily slip through the bars of the cage, but he would have to transform back into human form to grab the ring, and then he would be stuck in the cage.

There was nothing to be done about it, Ujin transformed back into his regular form. When he did so his change self spell was no longer active, and he looked like himself again.

The second the transformation was complete, Ujin heard a voice behind him, he whipped around to see a jade statue of a multi-armed god speaking, it said,

“Ujin Tohl the Viridescent is here, Ujin Tohl the Viridiscent is here” over and over and over again.

Very loudly. 

Ujin knew he had been made, Imirann Shinn had known he was coming, having a specific magic mouth prepared just for Ujin, there was no other way…

Ujin had been betrayed.

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