rip soul from dick costs 2 actions
Left him on read
Hespero regales the heroes with tales of the war thus far, which can all be found in The 40 Days Campaign Diary. While he speaks, Abe eyes him closely and just before he decides whether or not to attack him, he realizes he is bleeding heavily and decides not to attack. Hespero stares him down and smirks. “Good choice.”
“The bugbear says he can hear your thoughts.”
They land at Aurochs Island and set Livius up at his embassy, a fairly ramshackle hovel with a lot of damage done to it, since Aurochs has changed hands a couple of times.
The gang goes inside and meets Lolo, the castellan. They show the heroes around, showing them to their rooms upstairs (after clearing out the duergar playing poker in there).
He doesn’t even go here!
The heroes mutter about getting even with Hespero as they begin to retire. Natalya sets up a tea service on the patio and takes tea, remembering Luigius and the conversations they had together. Natalya realizes with delight that she can eat once again. Nahk comes around and sits with her and speak about their purpose. Nahk, in spite of the betrayals he suffered, the bad bosses he’s had, realizes that he still wants to do good, still wants to fight alongside the people who have shown him kindness and fight for the people who cannot fight for themselves. Natalya commiserates, knowing too well the sting of betrayal from both sides: being a spy in Hidimba’s camp, mourning the loss of her brother and how he went too far, and the betrayals with the original Mallory, which you guys know nothing about.
Meanwhile, Sora and Livius get fucking blasted off of the mushroom weed the duergar brought from down below. Livius wonders why the hell everyone gives a shit about Luigius because he couldn’t even make new memory’s for gods’ sakes. They mutter about how they’re totally gonna kill Hespero in the morning.
The next morning, Hobbes goes down to get continental breakfast, which in this world is actually a full breakfast because there were sausages and eggs and shit. He is approached by Lolo who hands him a note from Hespero.
“Had to bounce (for obvious reasons),” it probably said, “Come to Argot and we’ll meet with the other Triumvirs to figure this whole war thing out. XOXO Hespero.” A small mark in thieves’ cant is written at the bottom, saying “You still owe me.” The obvious reasons he was referring to was probably like, he’s pretty perceptive and has screwed over people a lot, so he probably knew being around you guys without bodyguards was not a super good idea.
Sora and Livius come downstairs, still a bit high from the last night, see Casimir morph from cat form to tibbit form. “Shit, did that cat just turn into a tiny man?”
Sora looks over Hobbes’s shoulder and picks up on the thieves cant mark and speaks to Hobbes in their shared language. Cas overhears as well, but soon the two just switch to common. Hobbes confesses to the gang that he owes Hespero for a job. It’s in Hobbes’s backstory.
The heroes openly speak about rebellion and sedition while Nahk makes Nat a croissant sandwich with egg, bacon, and hot sauce and cheese. Nice. Sora and Nahk hammer some stuff out between them, all of the allegiances that they have (particularly Sora’s position as a Werriadi spy), because they are, by all accounts, typically the most opposed on the spectrum of politics (though to be frank by this point Sora has effectively eliminated all of her most opposed teammates.)
Honestly, everyone kind of just agrees that Argot’s political system is fucked and everyone is incompetent, at which point Teo Ramsen, Livius’s subordinate (but simultaneously on the job trainer), begins struggling to pick up sausages he dropped. Sora makes a move to threaten him, but they all soon realize Teo wasn’t even paying attention anyway.
Now that’s what I call sea shanties
The gang gets back on the ship. Sora leads the crew in song, including “Ole Nistora Ladies,” and “The Wave’s Lover,” which as everyone knows, starts with the famous lines
My neck, my back, my cloaca, and my axe!
The heroes spend about five days voyaging, picking up the other ships at Charatos along the way (crewed by Osterosi dragonborn, bugbears, and also some of the Argotis), Captain Barty asks them to plead his case for elevation to admiral and joining the Argoti Navy.
As the Mineosi blockade looms ahead, the heroes and the officers try to calculate a way around it when suddenly airships appear in the sky, shooting flames down on the Mineosi ships. The gang returns to Argot.
Leandro meets them at the docks. People are real shady in the streets as they are followed to the Old Town (where there is an antimagic field). Posters for Hespero’s new casino, the Temple of Oret, are plastered on the walls, though many of them are defaced with the words “Thief” and “Criminal” and “Tyrant”.
Also you suddenly remember that you all share a rudimentary sign language from when Natalya couldn’t speak.
Leandro brings the heroes into a meeting room where Armand is waiting with a magical cage containing a magic mirror whence Hespero is zooming in. As his connection starts breaking up, Leandro offers the heroes a job: Work for the Argoti army and we’ll pay you. After some hemming and hawing, everyone but Casimir and Sora sign the contract. Leandro sort of shrugs at their refusal and tells the rest of them, “If anyone asks, they’re working for you.”
- Unit: Argot Special Forces Unit
- Rank: Commando
- Commission: 1 year
- Report to: Leandro
- Salary: 20gp / day
- Rewards at the end of term: Citizenship, plot of land
The contract represents a legitimizing bond between the signers and the City, and most importantly to Leandro (which is clear to the heroes), between the signers and himself and not Hespero.
They also get Barty’s commission legitimized! The 13 Islands Fleet is added to the Navy.
Leandro presents the heroes with a few jobs when there begins a commotion outside: A riot has broken out. Through the windows they can see shady people with yellow gardenia armbands, the symbol for Calantha Aran’s gang.
Devotees of the miniseries The 40 Days Campaign Diary will remember that Calantha leads the rival shadow triumvirate trying to undermine Leandro, Hespero, and Armand. She is joined in this by the City Attorney Nestor Domorosi and General Odoacer.
Going downstairs, the heroes come across a cell, and holy nut, it’s Mallory Whisperbottom! In jail! What are the chances?
I was arrested for picking an orange from an orange grove. Apparently it was Hespero’s orange grove. But Lori is coming to rescue me, so don’t worry about it. Though that might have been a dream. Anyway, Charon is waiting for me and I need to get him an orange. Can I entice you with a diamond maybe?”
“I finally figured everything out. You don’t understand. Let me out. I’ll take you to the great weapon I’ve found.”
Four of you also remember that you have the business card of one Pinot Merlot, a mindflayer lawyer (with flumph paralegals).
Leandro and Armand kind of tolerate this talk for a moment. They tell the heroes they will turn a blind eye to freeing Mallory, it is no business of theirs, but we will not be a party to it, nor implicated in it, and the heroes note that the two triumvirs may be weary of Hespero’s capricious vengeance.
(Also as a reminder, they do seem to know that Hespero is for sure not a humanoid and is a fiend, but probably not that he is specifically a rakshasa. They might not even know what that is.)
Mallory specifically asks to be freed, taken to his bag where he has the orange and the diamond, and will also show them where the heroes can find a secret weapon to defeat the Deathless One. Abe deliberately misunderstands and tells him he’ll bring him an orange right away. Mallory is visibly distressed as the heroes leave him in jail.
“Bye Dad,” says Nahk, “I mean, Mr. Mallory.”
Luigius’s Mansion (I mean Livius)
Livius and I think Natalya all go to Livius’s mansion which has been taken over by people who have been displaced by the chaos of the last 45 days. Livius politely asks that they clean up after themselves, but after some very awkward conversation, the people leave and Livius and the others get to cleaning up the place. Nat makes Livius a magical lock for the house. Casimir comes back around after visiting all of his regular cat haunts.
Exit, ransacked by bear
Abe takes Baltsaros and Nahk to his hovel in the woods. It was ransacked by a bear. Not the worst thing that could’ve happened.
Did I mention he talked about synergy a lot?
Sora heads on down to see his boss Ralos Korvesian, Proconsul of Pontia, who waiting for his three legions. His camp is outside of the city since Leandro and the generals agreed that they should not allow a foreign army into Argot. Ralos dresses down a subordinate, shouting that he wanted red ink, not burgundy ink, for his stamping.
Ralos gives Sora one last job: “When we defeat the Deathless One, how can we turn around and kill Hespero and the triumvirs right after? Kill Armand and Hespero. Get Leandro to open the gates of the city and let the legions in. We will be welcomed instead of hated if we betray them at the end of battle. I shall be made ruler of Argot, your friend Kriv will be free, and you will have 14,000 gold coins in your pocket.”
Sora agrees, contemplating becoming ruler of Argot herself and killing Ralos as well. She wonders if she can make an explosive rune out of his stamps before walking out of the tent.
Hobbes heads back home to his nice merchant apartment in the New City’s South Ward (I think?) Well, it’s completely ransacked, though no one has lingered here. He is on guard as he steps into his bedroom. Something clatters behind him. He spins around and points his fey blade at the figure emerging from the wardrobe: A young humanoid, a face he recognizes but cannot know who it is, but he’s narrowed it down to three. The Knife Siblings, Kris, Stiletto, and Falchion, share a rotation of faces, so likely any one of them.
Hobbes asks what they want and they deliver a message from the boss: “Hespero wants you to kill the Bargainer. The vampire in the Undercity. He is making too much trouble. You do that and you’re square with the boss. He’ll even boost your weapon by plus one, whatever that means, and give you the Rakshasa’s Absolution. He’ll also need you to replace the Bargainer. Make it look to his minions that nothing’s changed. And don’t worry, we can give you a hand in it too.”
The heroes spruce themselves up and get ready for the dinner party.
Quotes I could not place
- The Deathless One is lost in the sauce
- Rip soul from dick: “In an action that can only be described as legendary…”
It is day 45 since the Battle of Aurochs Island, the first engagement of the Argoti-Mineosi War.
The Argotnauts are back in Argot, getting ready for dinner.
Malory Whisperbottom is in jail.
You have two solid cubes and a ring of seven keys:
- One of the pine wood cubes is on the floor of the ship
- Livius Anastasius Cratius has the cube made of bone found in Iskos Valley Village’s elders’ hut
- Natalya has one of the pine wood cubes and the ring of seven keys; she dropped the obsidian cube containing her heart into the ocean
Zulon has been on the material plane for 15 days.
Previous episode: a lively curbstomping
Previous Arc: The 13 Islands of the Haunted Sea
While you were out: The 40 Days Campaign Diary