Frontier Dreams

Session 2.16
Only Sketchy People hang out at Dockside Unsanctioned Fighting Arenas

The adventurers decided to scour the local harbour to try and find the location of the fighting ring being run by the Iron Pioneers. After some aerial sleuthing, they found a decommissioned hull from a boat that offered a perfect makeshift ring. While moving inside to examine the place, one of the people preparing the venue suddenly recognized Kailen. The man, Bristis, was one of the men who fought by Kailen’s side in the battle that led to his change of heart. Overjoyed at seeing his old companion alive and well, Bristis hoped Kailen was there to enter his own “natives” into the ring. Despite base revulsion at the suggestion, they planned to show up if for no other reason than to plot against the Iron Pioneers.

After such an unpleasant afternoon, it was agreed that a palate cleanser was needed. Fortunately Asmund had received an invitation from a wealthy personage within the Candle Maker’s Guild. They dined at his estate, nearby to the Crimson Ribbon. From him, they gleaned much information about the current political upheaval resulting from the untimely death of a member on the Admiralty Council. Despite their concerns about Amora, she did not according to him appear to be in the running for a position. In return for all his information, and generous food served by animate wax, they clarified some of the questionable pieces of Asmund’s reports.

As it was late in the evening, after departing from their host’s room, the party retired to the Lazy Lizard save for Asmund and Mary. The two of them spent a night enjoying the show inside the Crimson Ribbon, ostensibly for reconnaissance purposes exclusively. Once they returned the party finalized their plan to rash the party the following day.

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Session 2.15
Smog & Mirrors

The party arrived at the massive gates to Trinity Bay late in the evening. After a laborious examination by the guard, they were granted entrance and immediately set about finding shelter for their visit. Prioritizing stable space, they found a tavern of sufficient size tucked away from the bustle of town center, resting against the city wall. They made quite the entrance to the quiet drinking room, easily securing the most of the available rooms, as well as the stables. In an effort to appear genial, Mary joined in for a few rounds of cards with the gamblers who had already been drinking when they arrived.

The following day they made to examine the town, and try to determine what the threat posed by their hidden enemy might be. Asmund departed to examine the Scarlet ribbon, the bordello they’d glimpsed in visions, to return with his findings later. Koapani went with the others to the pier to examine the ships in port. He was silently baffled by the sheer mass of what he saw moored in the harbor, and was informed their firepower was second to none when challenged. Koorie used this brief downtime to examine the myriad stalls nearby, and enjoyed a local delicacy of jellyfish.

Mary while examining the countless fliers, posters, and notices scattered about every available surface caught references to a street fighting ring composed of renegades and cutthroats. The images seemed primarily to depict Mahi-Tahi fighting for amusement of colonials. And a stamped pair of iron cogs in the corner of the page implied some connection to the Iron Pioneers.

When they reconvened at the inn Asmund explained that during the morning the Bordello is closed to the public. He also noted that there was a mansion belonging to a prominent businessman immediately adjacent if they wished to find a way in other than the street level.

Finally, they analyzed the most likely candidates who would be competing for the open seat on the Admiralty Council. One was Field Marshal Powyn “Powderkeg” Keglindiandro, one of the most experienced in the service. The second was Tumnus Willern, a prominent merchant in Trinity Bay with a long history of philanthropy to rival even the Rentyllian estate. Finally there was Dulcan Amner, a retired whistler who spent most of his free time at various training institutions dispensing advice and guidance.

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Session 2.14
Manifest Nightmare

As the party entered the clearing, the wounded man and his companion locked eyes with them. Koorie recognized immediately the accomplished spirit conduit Calder from his assistance in the Rentyllian ghost mansion. Calder explained that he and the man named Korvo were hunting an entity that had escaped into their world during the Long Midnight. Without missing a beat (or consulting his compatriot) Calder immediately implored the group for assistance.

With some explanation from Koorie to their party as to Calder’s history, they tentatively agreed to hear him out. He had been sent into the dreamworld to interact with the entity to draw it out in the physical world where Korvo would capture it, but Korvo was overpowered during the engagement, and awakened Calder to cease the assault. It was decided that the party would take Calder’s place in striking the entity’s vulnerable reality whilst Calder and Korvo stayed behind to fight it. Relying on Calder’s assurance that those who associate with Koorie could be trusted, Korvo resumed his full draconic form for the engagement. Nogaro in particular seemed especially affected by the sudden revelation.

Once they had gathered in the clearing, Korvo’s draconic breath instantly passed them into a deep slumber. The came to in a snow covered parody of the world they had fallen asleep in, tracks of giant animals littering the clearing. Reflexive attempts at warming themselves against the cold resulted in a formless voice warning against inviting summer’s breath in this place. Taking this as a challenge, Ako and Koorie set about starting fires with abandon to draw out the manifestations.

Four icy beasts were conjured from the mists, all predators that would be desperate for prey in the grip of winter. A bear, wolf, cougar, and eagle all with ice hanging from their form and some reminiscent piece of summer trapped in their rib cages. Battle immediately ensured with the group realizing, thanks to Mary’s spirit vision, they would be surrounded.
Koorie empowered Nogaro’s form to be equal in stature to the wolf, and trusted him to handle the foe o his own. As the snarling beast charged, Nogaro stood fast in the snow and traded blows with the nightmare.

Opposite them, Asmund pressed himself against a rock, ready to leap out from the shadows and deliver a sudden killing blow as the cougar charged past, but never got the chance. Seeing a chance for personal glory, Koapani charged Tangata forward and held at bay the cougar where it had manifested. Asmund seeing his plan foiled, ran toward the center where a titanic bear had charged past walls of fire to pin Ako.

Koorie, dispensing fire with deific might, drew the attention of the aerial manifestation, as the eagle’s talons raked across his back. Despite an uncharacteristic show of physical reflex, he proved no match for the eagle’s hunger on his own. Kailen, seeing the threat of being overrun quickly fired accurate shots, into both the bear and the eagle whilst Mary erupted in healing magic to bring her allies back from the brink. With ample savagery and fire the combined party made short work of the four animals, each time they did so another piece of captured summer was released.

Upon the final foe’s defeat, they were awoken one by one as Calder returned them to the waking world. Mary was disappointed to realize that she was unable to collect any pieces of the dream creatures to take back with her. Satisfied with their assistance, Korvo conceded that in order to make sufficient room in his horde to keep the captured entity safely, he may have to release several lesser items. All save Mary selected an item from the dragon’s horde as compensation. Calder’s warning that most of the items within were there because they were a risk to possess did little to dissuade the decision. Ako was excited to study them alongside Mary, but Nogaro refused a reward of any kind. Calder was asked if he had any experience with bordellos within Trinity Bay to which he recommended them to seek out Amora, Queen of Lies as the master of the craft.

The remaining week was spent with last minute preparations as they neared Trinity bay. Nogaro and Ako brushed up on colonial languages, Mary continued working on poppets, and Koorie briefed Koapani on day to day life in the city. As they neared the towering city spires, none of them realized that the real nightmare was still ahead of them.

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Session 2.13
Echoes

The party divided themselves into three groups, and Asmund went with Koorie in the first third to be teleported by the vessel to Stormwatch. They arrived without any difficulty, and after some brief formalities with the guard were allowed inside. Koorie introduced Asmund and Nogaro to his family, and gave them a brief tour of the town. Iument, clearly at home here, wandered freely about town.

Back in the cave, Mary’s poppet was helping with some of the heavy lifting. Ako’s exertions to constantly charge the boat were taking their toll, but with effort another group was able to be teleported. Kailen arrived with the cart and Itikoa on the beach to the north. Thanks to the herd-beasts sent along with his group, they dislodged the cart from the sand. After delivering his group, Kailen departed into the wilderness to enjoy some peaceful solitude one last time before again drowning in civilization.

In the cave again, the Dragon’s Shadow was watching closely as Ako pushed herself past several barriers, collapsing against Koapani most evenings. If Koapani minded the arcanist spending the nights leaning on him, he never said anything about it. When they teleported to Stormwatch, their arrival was distinctly more direct, crashing through the straw roof of the stable. The damage was minor but the arrival triggered a guard response before Koorie was able to sort it out.

Kailen returned from his hunt with a ruined stag whose antlers were clearly unique. Finding as good an excuse as any to celebrate, they had a large bonfire in the central courtyard. Like any celebration in Stormwatch, it lasted until midnight. Stories of exploits and battles were traded on both sides. Woomera herself approached Koapani and had a brief conversation regarding his ambitions. She was apparently pleased with his answer, gifting him a pair of boots she no longer herself needed.

In the morning as they readied their cart, Asmund showed Mary a poster he’d confiscated about some propaganda for the Iron Pioneers. Noticing a telltale defect in the lowercase “r” Mary became furious, realizing this group had come into possession of her father’s experimental printing press. She vowed to investigate further once they arrived in Trinity Bay.

One day’s travel north from Stormwatch, as they were to break camp, strange lights were seen to be coming from a copse nearby. When they cautiously moved inside to see if dangers lay in way, an eerily cold wind flew past them. Inside, hunched over the figured of a man with glowing yellow eyes, Koorie recognized the longtime friend of his mate and himself, Calder.

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Session 2.12
Enemies Glimpsed Afar

Having completed their preparations, said their goodbyes, and restocked their provisions, the adventuring party once again set forth into the frontier. Nogaro and Ako spent the first several days of the journey getting accustomed to their traveling partner’s rhythms and mannerisms. Asmund was extremely interested Mary’s newfound skill in animating miniature poppets, and commissioned one of his very own right away. Given how much he pored over the customization, it seemed likely he would continue to add alterations as the group continued around the world.

Once a day, Mary reserved time to set down and concentrate upon the quill left behind by the imp to scry on it’s location. At first they glimpsed only the cage, but by varying the time of the spell, they gained more information. They found the creature to be within Trinity Bay, under the service of a half elf woman with auburn hair, brown eyes, and expensive taste in jewelry. Mary’s specialty was not in divination however, and she was never able to focus any detective spells past the sensor. When the imp’s unknown task for the new master was completed, they witnessed her dispatch the thing with a simple gesture as though it were as effortless as breathing to her. Deciding not to alert a competent magic user that they had been scrying, they decided not to further use the spell after the imp was gone.

When their path took them near to the undefined border of the wild and untamed Trembling Hills, they came upon a wagon with two unfortunate viskanya who had fallen prey to large predators roaming far. The party ended the threat to future caravans with exceptional ease, and laid the unfortunate souls to rest. The bodies were not even cold before Mary set about harvesting large skulls and other bones.

The party crossed the winding canyon through the gateway outpost of Ruohua. The guards there were not amused at what they presumed to be tall tales of the group’s exploits, and bid them safe travels as they left Mahi Tahi territory.

As they returned to the cave where they had confronted Sanguinis, they could already set up a contingent of the Dragon’s Shadow. They had arrived much earlier and already were well underway into the restoration of the vessel. Head researcher Kanari explained in detail the dangers inherent in using it’s teleportive abilities before completely repaired, but Ako offered up a solution she was sure would be a challenge she was up to. After sorting out some logistics, it was agreed they would divide into three smaller groups and arrive several days each apart at the outpost of Stormwatch, south of Trinity Bay. Although he made good tactical sense of the decision, Koorie made no effort to hide that he also enjoyed this decision giving him an opportunity to again enjoy the embrace of his mate.

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Session 2.11
The Knife Falls North

After a long and grueling day full of momentous events, the party wearily returned to Blind Magda’s inn and promptly enjoined a well earned rest. Not so exhausted that they would forgo their morning rituals, Koorie, Kailen, and Koapani arose with the sun to start the day off. While scrounging for the meager breakfast laid out for them, Koorie spied some mail that had arrived. He was provided with pamphlets to be filled in regarding his impending guest sermon, and Kailen’s presence was requested at the Mahi-Tahi gunsmith that morning. Whilst they inspected their packages, Koapani went to the stables where a confused Itikoa was waiting.

It seemed that Tangata had come down with a wild predator’s case of cabin fever from growing steadily and being pent up in a small stable stall. Easily following the trail left behind by his passing, Koapani and Kailen found him in the middle of a quickly dispersing crowd next to a lizardfolk woman clad in traveling leathers. She introduced herself as a recent graduate, with honors, from a prestigious magical academy in Kotahitanga. Acquisition and application of knowledge was her main drive, but when she brazenly stated she was to become the next Warchief of the Mahi-Tahi, Koapani was briefly taken aback. When he explained he too shared that goal, the two struck a chord, and she took it upon herself to travel with her newfound rival, whom she found so agreeable.

Kailen meanwhile returned to the gunsmith who had taken his crafting pointers to heart. Kailen noted that while he was still behind the foremost gunsmiths of the Alliance, Putol was quickly advancing firearms for his people and quickly narrowing the gap between the empires. To thank Kailen for his assistance, Putol wished to immortalize him on his new storefront logo, a curious artistic method he had inventively called the gunograph. Not warning him ahead of time, Putol handed Kailen a rag to clean the pitch off as his assistants carted away the freshly blasted outline.

Back at the inn, two representatives rom the mysterious order arrived and asked for Koorie. They gave him a trio of resumes selected by Sulat Agar with annotations from him on the side. The adventurers learned this order was called the Dragon’s Shadow, and operated as an independent intelligence organization furthering the interests of the Mahi-Tahi. Despite being polite and patient, the head of the order never really gained any trust from the group, which he actually noted to their credit admitting his position was inherently due that caution.

Koapani returned and confirmed the group had in fact encountered the teleporting vessel the Dragon’s Shadow had crafted, and gave them the location so that they might go there and begin to affect repairs. They deliberated on selecting the companion from the resume stack that would join them, and Koorie eventually returned to the High Temple to inform Sulat Agar that they had chosen in favor of diversity, and that the agent by the name of Nogaro from he Dragon’s Shadow would journey with them. Sulat Agar gave Koorie some vouchers for their hard work, and cleared his schedule so that he might attend his friend’s guest sermon before he departed.

Returning to the inn, Nogaro was less than ecstatic to learn of his new posting, but nevertheless swore to uphold his duty to his people. Blind Magda appeared to have some sort of history with his organization, but the matter was not pressed by anyone present. As they planned their next move, one final trip to the high temple secured the party a scrying mirror to increase their ability to pursue the elusive foe. The divination ritual revealed that the messenger imp that had fled the temple before Vitrius attacked was lounging in a birdcage enjoying some snacks. They were able to hear a series of bawdy tavern songs in the background however, that led the group to believe the imp was in a bordello within one of the Horizon Alliance’s two largest cities.

After a rousing sermon delivered to the mixed people inside the first makeshift Church to MoeMare by Koorie, the party once again gathered their travel kits and refreshed their rations for the road. Stronger, smarter, and accompanied by new allies they set off northward to continue the pursuit of the remaining hidden agents in service of the Maggot King.

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Session 2.10
Vitrius, Prince of Knives

The group made their final hasty preparations on the rooftop of the Tower of Catastrophe. Aphos summoned forth a divine implement whilst Mary again altered the bones of her companions. Kailen took cover behind the railing and rechecked the sights upon his musket. Asmund and Koorie stood defiantly in the open, waiting for a challenger to appear.

Fire to arrive was Zul Bhasir, the youngest and newest of the priests in the 1st Circle, devotee of the Dragon. He pleaded with Aphos to change his mind and avert the course of action that led to heresy. Aphos remained determined, however. When Zul Bhasir warned Aphos that he was capable of rendering him incapable, Aphos struck first and blasted Zul Bhasir with powerful magic.

From the air, Pell and two other wyvarans, witnessed this and mocking sneered that this was the proof they needed to convince the council Aphos was in fact the traitor. All he had to do was punish the “impostor” and remove the trespassing foreigners to secure his illusion. Realizing that this was undoubtedly the villain, Aphos called forth a furious storm to deny his foes the sky.

Without delay, the adventurers lept into action. Kailen initially had trouble correcting for the powerful winds, but landed a grazing shot on the flanking servant. Pell’s monstrous form rained down razor sharp blades across the battlefield, the wounds left behind slowly trickling blood. Koorie had no shortage of divine energy to include in the fight, but Pell had spent so much time masquerading as a priest he’d apparently built up some resistance.

Eventually the howling winds brought the flying combatants to the ground the tide of the battle shifted instantly. Kailen finally calibrated his gun and quickly dispatched on of the flunkies with a clean head-shot. Koorie’s fiery breath felled the remaining one. And distracted by the foreigners combined assault, Pell left an opening in his defense allowing Aphos to pierce him through the heart, ending his treachery once and for all.

With the uproar caused by the battle, the guards had begun to race up the stairs. Koorie amplified his voice to assure them everything was under control. Before long, the remaining members of the council arrived and Aphos surrendered himself to their judgement. Although he had ultimately acted in defense of the order, his methods remained deplorable to his companions. The argument was ended prematurely when the High Priest arrived to render the matter irrelevant, and set the stage for his successor. He granted the adventurers access to a very reserved ritual that left the remaining priests stunned.

As they slowly returned to the mixed quarter, the group was still coming to terms with everything that had transpired. Kailen’s hawk had caught a lead as to the next location of their foes. Koorie spoke with Sulat Agar privately about acquiring assistance from the temple. A dutiful father swore himself to Koapani’s service for the rescue of his son. It looked like the group would soon be departing Kotahitanga to return to the frontier. But not just yet. Koorie had a sermon to deliver.

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Session 2.9
Fouled Hands and Profaned Priests

In order to return the children as quickly as possible to their waiting families, it was decided the group would split up to cover different sections of town. Koorie would handle the areas near the high temple, Koapani would revisit the mixed quarter, Asmund would venture East into the deepest urban area, Mary would visit the upscale housing, and Kailen would venture to the cramped houses surrounding the parks.

The guard on duty waited just long enough for his shift to end before making the party’s progress the problem of a familiar and unfortunate lizardfolk. Koapani took the time to offer helpful, if insulting, guidance to his men before they parted ways. When he deposited Nodomoro to the players, Koapani politely declined a permanent position on their team as captain. And when he revisited the home of Jujindo, the father inquired about his place of lodging so that he might meet him later.

Kailen first reunited the homeless child with his friends, with some gold to improve his condition. When the two other children were taken to their homes, their guile also caused Kailen to give up yet more coin. Mary and Asmund received many a strange glare, but thanks to their cloaks and papers of official status they were able to navigate more or less unimpeded.

When Koorie finally arrived at the home of Tungama, the chosen child, he allowed the family a brief and heartfelt reunion. During this time he collected his adventuring companions and together they escorted Tungama to the High Temple. Having previously been warned of their approach, the guards allowed the foreigners inside.

There before a council composed of all the remaining high masters of the 1st Circle, they explained in laborious detail the events of the past days. Suspicion and tension were palpable, as each party seemed ready to leap at another during the meeting. To avoid an unfortunate brawl, Aphos of Catastrophe suggested a recess whilst he prepare a last ditch spell with dire consequences. Realizing that this would be the perfect opportunity for the foe to ambush him, Koorie offered the aid of himself and his friends in setting a trap to catch the impostor.

As they arrived at the top of his tower, they plotted to set traps and prepare. They knew that the foe who was approaching was powerful and cunning, and they planned to spare no effort in his capture. The question of bringing him in alive or dead was raised to mixed response. Ultimately, it would be decided during the coming battle.

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Session 2.8
An Unconsciousness Closed Upon Itself

Proceeding without delay, the adventurers raced as a group to the slaughter house. Under cover of darkness, Mary examined the interior with magical senses. With the information previously gathered by Koapani and Kailen, she was able to locate the most likely entrance to the lair of the kidnappers. Standing just outside the sight of the patrolling guards, Koorie took to the air to better assess the defenses. Spying another of the abductor monstrosities crouched upon the roof, the option of a methodically silent approach vanished from his mind.

With a roar of fury, Koorie cast forth a fireball from the sky, instantly dispatching one patrol, and alerting the remainder that tonight judgement came for them. Seeing the fireball as the signal, the other adventurers rushed forward. Asmund, well at home in the dark, repeated caught the panicked guards by surprise and neatly separated them from vital organs. Koapani rode his fearsome steed directly at the slaughterhouse, no guard able to withstand the combined assault of tooth and club. And to underscore the cooperation between races, more so even than the fireball previous, the thunderous rapport of Kailen’s rifle felled any in his sights.

A single survivor from the meager guards failed to redeem himself of the reprehensible actions and he joined his comrades cold on the dirt. The haphazard attempt by the cabal to disguise the entrance with hay made no success in delaying the group’s progress downward. Beneath the hooks and dirt of the slaughterhouse, the rough hewn stairs led to a stone chamber well lit and filled with a grisly scene. Stood about a bloody pentagram were three more Mahi-Tahi clearly corrupted by devilish energies. And opposite the ominous figures, in piled cages, were the missing children.

Before even one word had escaped the mouth of the horror in charge the party fell upon them with righteous rage. In an attempt to buy time he commanded the mutations to dispose of the children and with dark magic he ensorcelled Koapani’s mind. Thanks to the foresight of Koorie, the otherwise hazardous venom of the corrupted vishkanya had no effect on the party. The small room quickly filled with the sounds of frantic combat. Koapani finally felled the creature before the enchantment temporarily rendered him catatonic. Mary with the air of her Kiwi spread magic over the area. And as the last monster tried to strike out towards a caged child, the child’s eyes rolled back in his skull and a great gout of draconic flame engulfed the attacker. Immediately afterward, the mysterious child passed out, breathing but exhausted.

The group immediately set about freeing and caring for the maligned youths. Food and healing magic were provided in abundance. On the corpse of the leader were found further incriminating pieces of evidence. As they placed the coterie of children on the various mounted beats they had along the headed back to town. Ont he way they encountered four members of the secretive order bearing the lunar sigil. With tired indifference, Koorie expressed his disappointment in their delay, only slightly mollified by the dispensation the group received from their offers.

As the group returned to town, weary but victorious, they had one last thing to do. The children were safe for the time being, but until the mastermind behind the scheme was brought to justice they could not rest.

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Session 2.7
Devils from Dead Tongues

Koorie and Kailen remained in the heart of the metropolis well into the night. Eventually, they caught sight of their quarry, two strange beings creeping through the darkness. From their hidden perch, they waited until they were much closer and sprung the trap. Kailen let loose with a bow while Koorie wove a spell aura about himself. The two monsters turned on discovery and lept at the heroes. Quickly realizing that a quiet resolution was out of the question, they abandoned their quiet methods. Koorie let forth a gout of flame whilst Kailen let forth a roaring blast from his gun. One of the fiends collapsed dead on the roof, but the other closed to Koorie with poisoned claws. The cleric fought against the poison, but collapsed unconscious. As Kailen desperately rounded on the other stalker, two wyvaran struck from above, snapping the neck of the beast. After brief words, they collected the wounded kidnapper and departed, leaving the adventurers to deal with the quickly gathering commotion and dead body. With haste and papers, they hurried to the inn with the evidence.

Once the lot who remained behind awoke, they gathered in the stables to examine the monstrosity. Mary had prepared magics to forcibly extract answers from corpses. With her spell, they learned that the children were being kept in a slaughterhouse, and that they were taken at the behest of Vitrius: Prince of Knives. After the effect expired, Mary set about the task of learning further about their foe via dissection. She learned that this was once a vishkanya, corrupted by devilish magics.

Koapani and Kailen mounted up to survey the area’s slaughterhouses and see if any bore suspicious details. THe northern one boasted of a boom in business from one of the southern ones failing. Thinking this a clue, they tried tog et close to the slaughterhouse, but were stopped by guards. Finding that itself suspicious, they sent Bullet to scout, who told them there was a tunnel down to a space beneath the warehouse, and the tell tale scent of the unique poison the monsters used.

Koorie had a second meeting with a member of the enigmatic order, whose secretive goals seemed at least for now to align with the group. They exchanged information that each had learned from their independent interrogations, and Koorie learned that the mutant things tracked their targets by scent. He suspected that someone had treated the clothing of the priests form the 1st circle, causing them to unknowingly mark the children for abduction.

Asmund meanwhile, had a private conversation with the keeper of the inn, Blind Magda. Whatever they discussed seemed to frustrate him, but he had already formed new ideas before letting his mood sour. After all, he’d met their extraordinarily odd merchant again and acquired a useful pair of magic boots. Although he lacked the coin, they’d come to an alternate arrangement.

Once everyone was reconvened, it was agreed that they proceed to the slaughterhouse without delay. They would arrive in force and attempt to distract the guards whilst Mary divined exactly what lay beneath. Years of digging in shallow graves would prepare her for what she would find.

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