Episode 39: the Costume Change
Sabetha regarded Levani, and for a moment it seemed as if a clash was inevitable. But as tensions mounted the dancer suddenly sighed, snapped shut her fans, and pushing through the confused party sat at her dressing table and began to remove her stage makeup. She once again warned them to not cross Madame Elethi, and told them to leave, her telepathic voice echoing in their heads.
Magnus, still under the effects of the charm spell apparently cast while watching Sabetha’s performance in the theatre, was hesitant to leave and despite Sabetha’s repeated warnings the party remained in her dressing room, arguing silently via their own telepathic bond whether to try and push for more information, turn the dancer against her employer, or attack. Her patience exhausted, Sabetha left via a dimension door spell and seconds later garments from the racks of costumes and clothing in the dressing room raised up off their hangers and swirled around the party, who were surprised to discover themselves attacked by floating, animated pantaloons, dresses, gloves, and a large velvet cape.
The animated clothing proved to be rather more deadly than they expected, and though the party successfully fended off the assault, it was not without significant injury; Ara in particular suffered a pummelling at the hands of two elbow-length white evening gloves, while Magnus was nearly smothered by the cape before slicing it to ribbons with his longsword. A combination of magic and bladed weapons dispatched the remaining animated clothing, and the party finally turned their thoughts to leaving.
It was that moment that a member of the theatre staff, drawn by the sounds of the fighting, knocked loudly on the dressing room door, asking if “Miss was alright?” Levani used disguise self to take on the appearance of Sabetha, and told the small, whithered man at the door that she was fine. The man’s eyes grew wide and he immediately ran to summon guards, shouting “Intruder! Intruder!” Levani quickly realized her error: Sabetha had only ever spoken to them telepathically, and had never uttered a single word aloud.
The party continued to consider what to do, and in the end decided to try to take Sabetha’s weapon box, which Keen had been unable to break into, with them. Magnus grabbed it only to be foiled by the thick steel chain holding it bolted to the floor, and it was at this moment that several heavily armed and armored city militia arrived and demanded the party’s surrender. Sabetha reappeared through another dimension door, just in time to see Magnus resist arrest and be struck down by several vicious blows from the assembled militia. The party surrendered, and the militia captain allowed Yuna to stabilize Magnus before the party was hauled away from the theatre in shackles.
They were led a short way through the streets of the 3rd Tier of Uman to a House of Justice, which turned out to be little more than a dungeon cut into the rock of the mountainside. The party was stripped of their belongings and thrown into cells, still manacled at the wrists. Before leaving them alone, the captain warned Levani specifically not to attempt to escape via magical means, and that any spellcasting or arcane arts would result in immediate execution of all party members.
Shackled, imprisoned, and helpless the party decided to try and rest. Less than an hour later, however, a huge half-orc arrived. He was rotund and older but still robust, and wore spotless full plate and a golden shoulder cape; at his size a heavy mace. Ara recognized the livery etched into the armor as the sigil of the Holy Martial Order of Woden, and marked this imposing figure as a paladin of Woden, god of law, justice, and war. The half-orc eventually introduced himself as Bartok Bresht, leader of House Bresht, one of the Seven Noble Houses that ruled the city of Uman. He demanded to know who the party was and why they would seek to breach the security of Zandilar’s and assault Sabetha. It seemed transgressing against Madame Elethi was enough to gain the party attention from Uman’s most powerful people.
Levani and Yuna explained the truth, or enough of it to gain Bresht’s trust, revealing that they were charged by divine powers to help repair the damage done to the world, and that they entered Zandilar’s to try and recover an artefact necessary for their quest; it required Yuna manifesting her true aasimar form as proof of their divine status. After much discussion Bresht accepted the party’s story, but indicated that he couldn’t just let them go: they had broken Umani law, and Madame Elethi is not one to permit such offenses to go unpunished.
In a surprising move, the half-orc prince decided that the party would be released into his service, and made to perform such tasks as he deemed necessary to expunge their record and make restitution for their crimes. Bresht declared they would eventually be released to lodgings more appropriate to their stature, there to be given further instructions. As he left them he cast a minor healing spell on Magnus and restored him to consciousness.
The party decided to try again to rest, and as they settled in they realized that Keen, without the Ring of Bliss, was at risk of manifesting a dream that could kill him, or others in the party. Keen denied that it was a real problem, and made ready for sleep. Magnus said “I got this,” and as the party watched, horrified, he detached his withered, dessicated hand at the wrist, slipping it out of the manacle. The hand raised itself up on bony fingertips and scurried through the bars into Keen’s cage, and began poking him to keep him awake.
Chances to Leave Zandilar’s Offered: Several
Chances to Leave Zandilar’s Taken: Zero
Wardrobe Rating: Provocative
Notice Avoided: None
RP Rating: Awesome!