Location: Lok Giran
Date: Trical 13, 1333 Avard
The Black Feather Troupe participated in a number of events for the annual Games' Day. As the troupe was stuck at Lok Giran until Eingrim recovered and the Baron-and-the-Bishop sent support for them against the dragon infesting their fort, they decided to enjoy the day and compete in a variety of events.
The morning began with pie-eating, sausage-eating, and beer-drinking contests. The official ceremony opened with dwarves in full plate performing a martial ceremony with flaming ethanol on chains and spinning cups. The martial maneuvers increased in complexity until only one dwarf remained, and then the official games began.
A near naked dwarven woman named Jasper was a strong contender for second and third place in a number of events. Roland competed against her several times, sometimes winning and sometimes losing for sheer power. There were haber tosses, lifts, and maul hacks, among other power events before lunch.
During lunch, minstrels performed against one another while everyone ate. Vegetarian fare was sparse for Chimes and Hiko, but they made do. Chimes blew the competition away with her performances, seeming to lose at one point just so she could decimate her opponent.
For skilled events, there were knife throws, axe throws, bow shots, and other dexterous events after lunch. Toox was pissed at Roland for beating her in the knife throwing competition – especially as he had not one, but TWO of his throwing knives stuck into the target handle first. She beat him in the axe-throwing competition, though, even though it was an event he trained in often.
Some of the final events included rock climbing and tomanth tossing. The rock climbing was ridiculously easy for Toox, as she climbed up the wall, back down, and then back up a second time in the time it took Roland and the leader contender to climb up the wall once. The crowd was blown away with such skill.
The tomanth tossing event made the troupe uncomfortable. Dwarves would stand perhaps ten feet away from one another, and then hurl a balled up tomanth at one another. The tomanths seemed no worse the wear for the event, with some of them being sought out over others or even traded between dwarves. The dwarf knocked back first by the tomanth was eliminated. In exchange, the tomanths got chicken broth – which was apparently something of a drug, to them. The whole event stank of a kind of racism and drug-addled abuse of another race to the troupe.
For dinner, they joined Eingrim, who had watched their exploits throughout the day. Eingrim, being a guest of honor, shared his salads with Hiko and Chimes, much to their relief. Self immolating cave fisher steaks were on the menu for dinner, although some of the steaks needed sparks to light them. They tasted like spicy shrimp.
Letters arrived for some of them. Roland's armor had been completed the day before, but the smith had forgotten to mention Games Day. The armor was insulated against the cold, and ready for pickup.
Eingrim was informed that a special detachment would accompany him back to his keep to help him remove the dragon. He would look for Captain Slate Ironwill in the stables on the morn. Captain Ironwill would have a hippotaun with full squad, two ankylosaurs with ballistae and their crews, and 'other cavalry as available'.
After dinner, gambling was on the menu. Hiko won quite extensively at poker, getting into the final rounds. Hiko also took second place in dragon chess, while Eingrim took third.
After most of the crowds had gone home to finish carousing, the lights were dimmed throughout the fortress. Hiko noticed that the book shoppe was open, and managed to find a full master's tome of conjuration magic that predated the Storm Wars. The proprietress of the shoppe said the dwarves on patrol often found backpacks or spellbooks from the mages' academy, and they brought them to her for a bit of coin. She felt the conjuration book was going to a good home, so charged Hiko a pittance for it and several other small books he found.
For chimes, though, she had a scroll. She gave it to Chimes at no charge, feeling that it belonged to her.
Back in their rooms, Hiko translated the scroll. It was a recent letter of apology to a 'lord' about some stock gone missing. The references to counting by 'feathers' and 'claws' was odd, and the language was a dialect of Aarakocran. The letter shook Chimes to her core, making her shiver and cry. Before Hiko could get the story out of her, there was a knock at the door.
The man at the door wore a sleeveless coat of thick black mink fur, with a dark maroon doublet beneath it. His head was jaunted with a beret, and he wore slippers of black silk. Oddly enough, he had no escort.
Ashaltimont the Black was an Aetherist from Lok Magius. Unlike Hiko, Ashaltimont had completed his studies, and continued to contribute to the arcane lore of the nation. Since it was Games Day, Ashaltimont wanted to challenge Hiko to a duel in the fortress' dining room.
The troupe – and their escorts – arrived in the dining room to find it rather dim. The few lights showed Jasper the near-naked dwarf sitting on the stage, staring into the shadows. Hungry for a late-night snack, she had found food still laid out for anyone to grab.
Ashaltimont and Hiko battled upon the stage. Hiko started with a slow spell, which Ashaltimont dispelled. Hiko followed up with Melf's Minute Meteors, and then Ashaltimont attacked with a burst of shadow bolts. Hiko realized that the aetherist used darkness as his focus – which is why he waited until so late at night, and chose such a poorly lit room for the duel. Even the mage's wand was dark – made of pure ebonite, one of several special metals that easily took to enchantments of darkness.
Ashaltimont began to lose. He tried to cheat, only to be caught, and then Hiko unleashed a hidden fire bolt on the aetherist, defeating him.
Roland ensured that neither party was seriously hurt. Ashaltimont implied that Hiko had no honor, and was merely a student of Eingrim the Gold's, before leaving in a huff.
Jasper, having seen the spectacle, was beside herself with excitement. She and her bear were the 'other cavalry' that would escort the Black Feather Troupe in the morn against a white dragon. Jasper was eager to see the troupe in action – and eager for dragon's blood.
DM's Notes: Sualy expects Chimes to be kidnapped any moment, as Chimes' performance was apparently noticed by a minion or friend of the baron she helped bring down. Thus, she brought in Jasper to serve as Chimes' substitute for when the kidnapping takes place.
We also learned that Sualy does NOT like berets – and thus none of her characters do, either.
None to date.