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Welcome to Episode 26 of the Rescued by Dragons podcast, Tales of the Brunch Club: A fantasy fiction podcast inspired by a weekly, home brew, Dungeons and Dragons campaign.
My name is Liz Raychard and in the DnD campaign this story is based upon, I play Elora, a wood elf ranger.
I invite you to picture yourself in a cozy, torch-lit tavern, ale in hand, gathered around a table with other listeners, waiting to hear the next chapter in the tales of… The Brunch Club.
But first, a quick recap of our previous episode…
In episode 25 The Brunch Club spent a relaxing afternoon in a spa. They got massages then spent time in the spa’s enchanted rain room. Elora wandered off from the group and took moondust given to her by a fellow patron. The group found her staring at a light floating above her head, transfixed by its glow. They got haircuts and enchanted manicures. That night Salys and Tuft had a date that ended in his bedroom.
Episode 26, “Lady Tiroll’s Surprise”
The heavy curtains kept the light from creeping in the room Elora shared with Salys. Salys’s bed was empty and un-slept in. Elora sat cross legged on her bed. She held her hands in front of her, staring at the lamps painted on her fingernails. They glowed with a soft enchanted light, similar to the glow given off by the gem set into her beehive hairdo. She was startled out of her reverie by the sound of the door opening.
“Are you still tripping?” Salys asked as she entered their room.
Elora blinked several times. She felt clear headed for the first time since the previous afternoon. She also felt very, very tired.
“You look like you got even less sleep than I did,” Salys told her.
“Why do I have lamps on my fingers and why is my head glowing?” Elora asked. “And where have you been?” she added.
Salys told Elora how she had been given moondust in the spa’s enchanted rain room and did nothing but stare at lights all afternoon and evening. Salys also told her about her own night with Tuft, which Elora approved of.
Salys then handed a small mirror to her friend.
“A beehive?” Elora said with disbelief. “We were in an enchanted spa and you guys let me get a beehive?”
“Hey, you were into it at the time,” said Salys with no feeling of guilt.
Elora set the mirror down beside her and collapsed backwards on to the bed. She held her hands back up in front of her eyes. “The nails are pretty cool,” she admitted.
“Check mine out,” said Salys. She held her hands up so Elora could watch the animated blocky representation of the sorceress shoot small rectangular missiles across her fingernails. They exploded when they reached her pinkies.
When the novelty wore off, Salys stood up. “Vorjhon wants to show Elnor’s Constable the medallion we got off those chanting weirdos in the cave. You coming?” she asked.
“No,” I’m going to get this ridiculous thing off my head then get some sleep,” Elora said.
Salys met Diesa, Drusilla, and Vorjhon on the first floor of the Rampart Wizard inn which served as its tavern. They ate brunch then headed for the quartz district.
“Why are we going to talk to the local law again?” Diessa asked as they walked up the long flight of steps that led from the granite district to the quartz district.
“It looked like those priests in the cave were up to no good,” said Vorjhon, feeling unusually self-righteous this morning. Perhaps it had something to do with his freshly cleaned armor, and his freshly polished scales.
“It may also help us gain favor with the Elnor constabulary, which may be an inroad to the Library.” Drusilla added.
Once they reached the top of the steps, they saw a sign post which showed the way to various government buildings within the Quartz District. They followed the one that said “Constable.”
Like all of the buildings in the quartz district, the constabulary was structurally made from granite, but every inch of that granite was covered by a quartz facade. The facades of the Quartz district varied in color, but this building’s exterior had a purple hue to it. It matched the purple and silver uniforms of the guards who flanked the main door. The floor of the main entranceway was decorated with a giant quartz mosaic depicting Elnor’s pride and joy, the Crystal Spire Library.
They told a guard they had some information about a possible threat to the city brewing in the caves to the west. The guard looked at Vorjhon with suspicion, but told them where they could find the officer in charge, Captain Unterpant.
Salys entered first, and the Captain smiled at her. He smiled at the rest of them as well. When Vorjhon entered his smile straightened and his eyes narrowed. He had the same suspicious look the guard had.
Vorjhon pretended not to notice and strode confidently to the Captain’s desk.
“Good morning, Captain,” Vorjhon said cheerfully. He held out the squid like medallion they had taken off the high priestess in the cave a few days ago. “Do you recognize this?” the dragonborn asked.
Captain Unterpant took it, examined it, and handed it back to Vorjhon. “I don’t. Should I?”
“I’m not sure,” Vorjhon said. “We took it off group of cultists performing dark ritual in caves outside your city. We think they might have been part of a larger network living in the caves there.”
“Performing rituals outside the city gates isn’t a crime,” said the captain.
“They may have been trying to summon a monster from the ocean,” Drusilla said.
“It seemed like possible threat you should know about,” said Vorjhon.
“We can lead you there if you want,” said Salys.
Captain Unterpant sat silent for a moment. “I’m not sure that’s necessary, but thank you for bringing it to my attention. I’ll look into it.”
“Thank you for your time,” Drusilla told him.
When they turned to leave, the captain called out to them. “Paladin,” he said. “You might find life in the upper districts a bit easier if you don’t parade around with a giant holy symbol on your shield.” He handed a slip of paper to Vorjhon. “Give this to the quartermaster on your way out,” he said.
Vorjhon took it and thanked him.
“Can you help me with something?” Diessa asked Captain Unterpant. “I lost my Library card, can you help me get me a new one?”
“I see. And what name was your card under?” The captain asked.
“Um, Linda,” Diessa hesitated. “Linda Bean,” she said with more confidence.
“So not only are you lying about losing a library card, but you’re lying to me about your name,” Captain Unterpant said seriously.
“Hey! Hey! She didn’t mean it,” Salys interjected. “She got a hold of some moondust, and…”
“Moondust is illegal in Elnor,” said the captain.
“We should probably leave now,” said Vorjhon, ushering his friends out of the captain’s office.
At the quartermaster’s, Vorjhon exchanged the slip of paper for a small jar of purple paint and a brush. They spent the rest of the afternoon at the inn where Vorjhon painted over the symbol of Bahamut on his shield..
The coach arrived at sunset. It was a six person carriage drawn by two horses.
Drusilla appeared at the coach wearing the gold and ruby necklace they found in the hollow log.
“I call dibs on that for the next party,” said Diesa.
“Where’s Pip?” asked Vorjhon.
Salys pointed to the hood of her robe that hung on her back. Vorjhon peeked in and saw Pip curled up, sleeping with a wing draped over his face.
“Awww, he looks so cute!” Vorjhon said.
“Shut the fuck up, dragon breath. I’m trying to sleep.” Pip said, though Vorjhon could not hear him.
The coachman opened the door to the carriage and invited them to step in.
“Can I drive?” Salys asked him.
“Have you ever driven a coach before?” he asked the gnome.
“No, but there’s five gold pieces in it for you if you teach me.”
Salys sat next to the coachman on the driver’s bench while the others climbed into the coach.
“Smooth ride so far,” Vorjhon said.
“Salys must not be driving yet,” said Elora.
The carriage lurched to one side. They fell on top of each other and bounced around inside the coach as the carriage careened around the curves.
“Slow down! Slow down!” they heard the coachman scream.
“Whoooo hoooo! This is fuuuuun!” Salys shouted over him.
The passengers did manage to climb back up on the seats and hold themselves more or less in place for the remainder of the turbulent journey.
They arrived at Lady Tiroll’s villa a little shaken, but with their enchanted hairdos still intact. They could tell they were late because of the large number of coaches parked outside with their drivers tending to them. Diessa, Drusilla, Vorjhon and Elora stepped out of the couch. Salys jumped down from the driver’s seat.
“That was so much fun Guys!!!!” She said excitedly.
The coachmen remained in his seat clutching the bar in front of him. He was pale and shaking. A bead of sweat ran down his temple. He withdrew a bottle of whiskey from his coat and took a couple big swigs.
“See ya in a few hours for the ride home!” Salys shouted to the driver.
He groaned and took another pull on the bottle.
“Drusilla and guests!” announced a servant as they entered the room. At first no one paid attention to them as they descended the stairs into the ballroom. As people noticed them, a low murmur spread across the guests. The fully armored, spit-and-polished adventurers, with their perfectly coiffed hair, stood out among the other party guests adorned in their upscale finery.
“We should get drinks,” said Diessa, feeling the eyes upon them.
On their way toward the bar they were stopped by an older dwarf dressed in a ceremonial military uniform. On one of the shoulders was a solid gold epillet that caught Diessa’s eye.
He introduced himself and his wife as Colonel and Lady Bowen.
“Some party!” he greeted them, happily.
“We haven’t seen you at any other social events around the city,” his wife said rather coldly. “How do you know Lady Tiroll?”
“We don’t. We’re new to the city, but she was kind enough to invite us so we could meet fine people such as yourselves,” Drusilla said in her most refined manner.
“Well, good luck with that,” said Lady Bowen with a complete lack of sincerity. She walked away, leaving her husband behind.
“What can you tell us about Lady Tiroll,” Elora asked.
Colonel Bowen laughed. “You need to talk to Lord Windsor.” The dwarf pointed out a tall skinny human in flowing silk robes with salt-and-pepper receding hair. “He knows everything about everybody in Elnor.”
“How does he get his information?” Diesa asked.
The colonel chuckled. “He owns the Jade Serpent. A pleasure house in the Quartz District that caters to Elnor’s higher class perverts.” He said.
“Why don’t you go talk to Lord Windsor. I’ll get us drinks,” said Vorjhon to the rest of the group.
Vorjhon walked to the bar. He ordered five drinks, which he was able to carry easily in his large hands. When the older bartender passed him the drinks, he slipped a note into Vorjhon’s hand.
On the other side of the room the rest of the Brunch Club introduced themselves to Lord Windsor.
“We were told you could give us the low down on Lady Tiroll and what happened to her husband,” Salys told him.
Lord Windsor motioned for them to join him in a quiet corner of the room. His eyes gleamed. He seemed happy to share his gossip with a new audience.
“Lady Tiroll’s husband disappeared a year ago,” he told them. “She claimed he was killed by highwaymen, but they never found his body. She used her influence to have him declared dead quickly so she could inherit his fortune. If you ask me, which you have, I believe this little party is her attempt to find another husband to rob of his wealth.”
Lord Windsor was interrupted by the buzzing of excited whispers rippling around the room. Everyone had turned their eyes to the entrance way. A servant stood at the top of the steps and announced to the guests, “Ladies and Gentlemen. Honored guests, presenting your gracious hostess for the evening, Lady Tiroll!”
The crowd applauded and began moving toward the entrance to try and be among the first to greet their host.
Lord Windsor finished his drink and placed it on the tray of a passing server. “It was nice meeting you all, but if you’ll excuse me, I must ingratiate myself to the Lady Tiroll.”
While everyone’s attention was on the front of the room, Vorjhon pulled out the note the bartender slipped him.
“What’s that?” Drusilla asked.
“The bartender gave it to me,” Vorjhon told her.
He opened it and held it down in front of him so they could all read it together.
“The Gods watch over us all. We must bring them back,” it read.
“I guess religion isn’t fully dead in Elnor,” Elora said.
“It looks like you’ve been recruited,” Salys told Vorjhon.
The dragonborn looked around. When he was certain no one was looking, he stuffed the note in his mouth, chewed it, and swallowed it.
They stood back from the crowd watching Lady Tiroll greet her guests. She was average height for a human woman, but looked lithe and confident as she moved through the room. Her eyes were dark and intelligent.
Salys noticed they were not the only ones watching Lady Tiroll from afar. A lone human male stood near them. His arms were folded across his chest. He wore dress robes that identified him as an academic. A miniature pig sat on his shoulder. Salys approached him and introduced herself.
“Hi, I’m Salys,” she said, holding out her hand. “I like your pig.”
The man bent down and politely returned her hand shake. “It is nice to meet you, Salys,” he said and introduced himself as ‘Ahura Mazda.’ He introduced the pig as Zoraster.
Pip poked his head out of Salys’s hood. He looked at Zoraster and said, “Mmm… bacon!”
Salys pushed him back into her hood.
“You enjoying the party?” Salys asked Azhura.
“No. But one must keep up appearances,” he said in an even voice masking any disdain.
“Why are you here then?” she pried.
“I’m a dean at the mage college. Master Kormir, the new college president made me attend in his place.” The way he said “president” made Salys think he didn’t think highly of his superior.
“Sounds like you don’t like your boss that much.” she told him.
He chuckled softly. “You could say that. Maybe I’m just bitter though. The previous president, Master Edwin, was my friend, and better at his job,” he said.
“Why did Master Edwin get fired?” asked Salys.
“He didn’t get fired. He died,” Ahura replied.
“Oh. Sorry.” Salys said. The conversation fell into awkward silence.
Salys was grateful when Vorjhon approached them and introduced himself to Ahura Mazda with his typical outgoing warmth. While they chatted Vorjhon mentioned that Salys was was looking for a mentor to teach her about her wild magic.
“Come by the college tomorrow,” the wizard told her. “We can chat about controlling that wild magic of yours.”
“Thank you!” Salys said, unable to hide her excitement.
Ahura looked up from the sorceress and scanned the crowd. Lady Tiroll was no longer visible.
“If you’ll excuse me,” he said, and walked toward the largest mass of party guests.
While Vorjhon and Salys were talking to the man in the academic robes, Drusilla decided to get some fresh air.
She stepped outside to a large patio that overlooked a snow-covered hedge mage on the grounds.
She went down to the maze. She walked between the tall hedges, enjoying the silence. She heard the sounds of soft moaning in front of her. She turned a corner and saw Lady Bowen sitting on a bench, passionately kissing a man who was not her husband.
Drusilla turned down another path before she was seen and stepped right in front of Lady Tiroll holding a dagger up to her throat.
“You’re wearing something that belongs to me,” she said in a formal and menacing tone. She gestured at the necklace with the tip of her dagger.
“How do I know it’s yours?” Drusilla asked.
“It has my initials engraved on the back,” Lady Tiroll deftly flipped the pendant over with the dagger. “E.T.” was engraved on the back in ornate script.
Drusilla slowly took the necklace off and handed it to Lady Tiroll. “I’m glad I could look after it for you,” she told her host.
Lady Tiroll took the necklace and put it around her own neck. “Thank you for being so understanding,” she smiled. “I hope you’re enjoying the party,” she said as she strode away.
Elora lost sight of her companions in the ballroom.. She decided to get a drink. She was surprised to see Captain Grath standing at the bar.
“Hey sailor,” she said, standing close to him touching her shoulder to his. “I’m at full health.”
Captain Grath smiled, happy to see her again.
After a few minutes Diessa joined them at the bar. Then Salys and Vorjhon.
Drusilla eventually joined them. “Diessa, Lady Tiroll took the necklace from me at knife point claiming it was hers. Do you think you can get it back?” asked Drusilla.
Diesa smiled and held up the solid gold epillett that was part of Colonel Bowen’s dress uniform. “I think I can help you with that,” she said.
“Attention everyone!” A familiar voice commanded the crowd. Azhural Mazda stood next to Lady Tiroll. Zoraster sat proudly on his shoulder, as if he were enjoying the attention. “I would like to propose a toast to the Lady Tiroll,” the wizard began. “Not coincidentally her husband went missing on the same day as my friend Master Edwin, the former president of the Mage college. I have proof that Lady Tiroll killed both her husband and Master Edwin on the same day and that Master Kormir disposed of their bodies.”
Shocked gasps rose from the guests. Lady Tiroll had a fierce and angry expression on her face and had taken a couple steps back. She reached her hand under her cape.
“Furthermore,” Azurha continued, “I have proof that she killed them with Midnight poison, the trademark of the famed assassin, Varjo.”
“Not possible!” one of the party guests shouted.
“What proof?” shouted another.
Azhura smiled knowingly. “Haven’t you ever wondered how she can be wearing her husband’s ring when she claims he was killed by highwaymen and no one ever found the body?”
“How dare you!” Lady Tiroll said with venom. She pointed her dagger at her accuser.
Ahura Mazda made a complicated gesture with his hands. They could not hear the words he spoke but they knew he was casting a spell.
They didn’t know what the spell was, but it made Lady Tiroll scream in horrible agony.
Our tale will continue next week in Episode 27
Episode 26 was written by Dominic White and based upon a Dungeons and Dragons campaign created by our dungeon master, Brian Messmer.
Valuable contributions to the story were added by the role playing of:
- Bethany Powers, who plays Diessa
- JP Black, who plays Drusilla
- Liz Raychard, who plays Elora
- Anna Flemke, who plays Salys
- Dominic White, who plays Vorjhon
- Brian Messmer, who plays everyone else
- And Special Guest, Billy Chase, who plays Ahura Mazda
Thank you very much for listening Please join us next week to find out, along with the rest of us, what‘s going to happen next!