My Dinner with Hespero
The Dinner Party
The gang comes up to Hespero’s mansion. It is domed on the highest hill in the city. Cas, Abe are tasked with bodyguard duty. Sora is Armand Colodrise’s bodyguard. Livius and Malbec are guests.
You are familiar with Hespero’s mansion since it is the most visible building on the Argotian skyline. The house sits atop the highest hill in the Heights neighborhood. As you climb up the winding path, the sun casts a golden light on the four columns that flank the entrance. A mesh of crawling ivy covers the walls of the upper two stories of the home. Three red-shingled conical roofs cap the building.
The tall oaken doors swing open and the long shadow of Hespero greets you at the door. He takes note of your expression as you approach. “You can see why I would not like to give up this city to someone who thinks of himself as deathless,” he says, as he waves you in.
A pair of curving staircases wind up to the upper floors, guiding your eyes toward the strange floating chandelier. A hundred jewels revolve around a sphere of yellow light floating in the air. You step over a mosaic of three tiger-headed men, covering their eyes, ears, and mouth respectively.
The tiger-headed men each have a deformity of the hand: one has six fingers on both hands, another has backwards hands, and the third has two extra thumbs.
In the dining room,
A long table stretches out before you. The arched ceiling is ten feet high. At the opposite end of the long dining room, four pillars lead outside. Translucent curtains drape across the gaps between. Two young men dart between the columns, playfully chasing each other, before they disappear into the light of dusk outside.
Armand enters the room from the entryway, accompanied by Taedor and a woman with curly black hair, kind eyes, and a bright smile. She wears a golden necklace and a golden earpiece curling around her left ear. Taedor greets you with eyes downcast, while the woman allows a polite nod and introduces herself as Damfina, Armand’s wife. Armand sharply interrupts her and says to Hespero, “Have you briefed them?” When Hespero nods, Armand insists that no one beyond this room must know about the plot to kidnap and interrogate the Ambassador.
Leandro and Allegra enter the room, their presence instantly captivating. Leandro is stern-faced with a thick black beard resting upon his chest and streaks of gray in his black hair. Very cool scars drag across his cheeks. His dress toga is a dark red, matching his wife’s long dress. Allegra wears golden bracers on her forearms and a curling earpiece around her ear. She looks down her nose at you as she passes by.
- Foreign dignitaries
The Mineosi Ambassador enters. They wear a tall headpiece of yellow cloth and white gemstones, shaped in three tall spires. Their yellow robes hang in the air as if caught in a breeze, but they do not move. Their blank face appears to recognize each of you in turn. The armed guards, carrying gladii, wear golden masks rather than the white one the Ambassador appears to wear. Sitting beside the Dragonborn ambassador Kaolina, the Mineosi Ambassador
Abraham sets a trap in the bathroom.
Oddly there is no stench in this latrine. Two long wooden benches with holes stretch before you. A small gutter of water runs at your feet. At the end of the room, there is a window, and to the right of the window, a door.
The Mineosi Ambassador triggers it and teleports out of it. His guard stabs Baltsaros. Livius breaks up the situation. Abraham carries Baltsaros to safety.
During dinner, Malbec makes a speech as a distraction. The Ambassador chills out after the event. Livius impresses the party with the sandwich.
A cool summer breeze is on the air as you pass through the fine curtains into the pavilion. Above you, the sky and before you, a stage of wood with a set of steps leading up to it. A pair of gnomes prepare for the concert, one with a tall hand drum and the other with a fiddle. The dance floor is marble and well-worn.
To your left and right are lounge areas with couches set up and small potted trees. Further on the left and right are terraces leading down the side of the hill. A group of young Argotians chat wearing casual togas and skirts, drinking wine.
Lenny brings Sora out to threaten her but Sora turns the tables on her.
Livius chats with the Ambassador
Malbec grills a guard.
Sora impersonates a guard, but gets detained. The gang trap the Ambassador in the library.
The smell of old paper permeates the room. A pair of large comfortable chairs are before a hearth. Behind the chairs is an ornate wooden liquor cabinet. A staircase wraps around the library, going four levels down. Over the railing, you can see a swirling pool covered in mist.
The liquid you emerge from smells of iron, and you realize a film of blood no covers you. Before you is a rocky landscape with rivers of blood and clouds of biting flies. Fiery comets cross the sky and leave smoking craters behind. Weapons lay scattered in the dirt and the bones of dragons. Suddenly a screech pierces your ears as a black dragon coasts across the sky, close enough to feel the heat off its body. Its tail whips across the dirt as it flies into the distance.
Damfina tries to get into the library, but is unsuccessful. Abe peeks into the hell portal. Fornorio emerges, tells them about the Burr.
- Damfina and Allegra act suspicious
- Sora continues blackmailing Leandro
- This Ambassador is freed from the hivemind, turns out to be Fornorio, someone who had previously fought against The Burr.
- Interrogation proceeds. The heroes do not know what has become of Fornorio, who was the person subsumed by the Ambassador
The heroes and Hespero learn:
- The ambassador was getting ready to go to Aurochs Island for a mission.
- There is a strange labyrinth on that island.
What Hespero knows about Aurochs island:
- Populated by aurochs
- Also there are harpies
- The labyrinth is a hive of minotaurs where they perform terrible experiments to transform victims into minotaurs.
- 600 years ago there was a city on Aurochs Island. No one knows what happened to it.
To the heroes he requests the following:
- Interrupt the negotiation between the Duergar and the Ambassador.
- Discover what kind of deal they are striking.
- Convince the Duergar to make a deal with the Argotians instead.
- Steal sirablood and bring it to Hespero.
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