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Welcome to Episode 28 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 Bethany Powers and I play Diesa in the Dungeon & Dragons campaign this story is based on.
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…
In the previous episode, The Brunch Club tried to prevent a fight between Lady Tiroll and Ahura Mazda. After Ahura Mazda killed Lady Tiroll, her corpse rose and obediently followed him through a portal as he made his escape from the mansion.
Solania and Ilian of the Council of Five, along with three Instructors, appeared in the ballroom and questioned the guests. After they were questioned, The Brunch Club explored the mansion and found evidence that proved Ahura Mazda’s accusations about Lady Tiroll were correct. On their way to give their findings to Solania they stopped to inspect a treasure box chained to the floor in one of the rooms. When Diessa got close enough to check it for traps, an arm instantly grew from one side of the chest and swung at her face.
Episode 28, “Meetings in Bathrooms”
Diessa jumped back as the fist swung past her. The keg-sized chest rose up off of the floor as two squat, sturdy legs extended from underneath it. A second arm grew out of the opposite side from the first one.
The gap between the lid and the box undulated up and down. The edges of the gap grew lips, and a grotesque tongue slipped between them , swishing back and forth. The mouth opened and exposed long, sharp teeth. Angry, hungry eyes appeared near the top of the lid.
Diessa scrambled backwards as the devilish treasure chest rushed at her. When it got near her it lunged, but its leap was halted in midair by the chain. It crashed to the floor with a surprised yelp, but got right back up. It snarled and swiped at Diesa, straining against its chain.
“What in the nine Hells was that?” exclaimed Diesa as she backed out of the room, catching her breath.
“I have no idea,” said Elora.
“Should we kill it?” asked Drusilla.
“Nah,” said Salys. “Let the Instructors deal with it.”
They were relieved to find the more friendly Solania alone in the ballroom. She invited them into a side room where they could talk in private. Vorjhon handed her the sheaf of papers Diesa found in Lady Tiroll’s desk.
“These appear to be proof that Lady Tiroll was the assassin, Varjo,” the paladin told her.
“They’re in code, I can translate if you want.” Diesa offered.
Solania leafed through the papers and glanced at a few of them. “Thank you,” she told Diesa. “That won’t be necessary.”
“So it looks like Ahura Mazda was right about her,” said Salys.
Solania nodded. “It appears so. Still, it doesn’t excuse him for killing her. He will have to be found and dealt with.” she said seriously.
“That’s too bad,” sighed Salys. “He was going to help me control my magic.”
“I’ve been thinking about how you got your powers,” said Solania. “Beholders do not have the ability to grant magic. They are cunning and evil creatures though. Most likely it sensed magic within you, then manipulated you into sacrificing your father.”
“Why would it do that?” Vorjhon asked. “What would it have to gain?”
Solania sighed. “I don’t know, I haven’t figured that part out yet,” she admitted. “However, I may have a task for you, and should you complete it, I can arrange access to the library for you.” she told them with optimism in her voice. “That may help you find some answers.
“What’s the job?” asked Elora.
“I can’t tell you here. I’ll contact you tomorrow,” said Solania.
She stood up, bid them good night and told them they were free to leave.
The Brunch Club found their coachman asleep in the back of their carriage. He clutched an empty bottle of whiskey high on his chest.
“Looks like I have to drive!” said Salys, climbing excitedly onto the driver’s bench. The rest of them climbed into the carriage and held on to the hand rails tightly.
Salys was able to gingerly coax the two horses down the small street leading up to Lady Tiroll’s Villa. When she got to the main road she urged them to move a little faster. She whipped the reins up and down, speeding the horses from a trot to a canter, then a full gallop.
The carriage tilted from side to side as they sped down the uneven cobblestone streets. When Salys took a corner as fast as the horses would allow, all four wheels of the carriage lifted off the ground. Its momentum slammed it into the corner of a building, knocking chunks of the quartz facade from it. The carriage landed back on the road but went airborne again around the next corner. This time it destroyed a section of ornamental fencing and took a chunk out of an old chesnut tree.
The road straightened allowing Salys to gain control of the carriage. She slowed down when she saw a group of town guards ahead of her. A guard on horseback galloped past them and stopped when he reached the guards.
The mounted guard commanded them to halt.
An older guard approached them and asked Salys to climb down and the passengers to exit the carriage.
“You were driving fast and reckless,” the guard told Salys.
“Sorry, our coachman got drunk while we were at a party, so I had to drive. The horses got away from me,” the gnome said apologetically as possible.
The experienced guard looked inside the carriage at the sleeping coachman. “I’m still going to have to fine you for the damage,” he said.
“How much?” Salys asked.
“Two-hundred and fifty gold,” the guard said.
“What? That’s robbery!” said an annoyed Diesa.
The guard looked at her. “That’s just the fine. There’s also another one hundred and fifty gold for the damage you did.”
“How do we know you’re not just going to keep it?” Diesa said, disrespectfully.
The older guard approached and looked down at her. “Listen here, dwarf. I don’t know what filthy cave you’re from, but this is a civilized city, and actions have consequences. You can pay the four hundred gold now, or spend the night in jail and pay it anyway.
Vorjhon stepped between Diesa and the older guard. He handed him the gold and apologized on behalf of the group.
The mounted guard followed them back to the Rampant Wizard Inn to make sure Salys kept the horses at a reasonable speed. They paid to stable the horses, rented the coachman a room for the night and put him to bed with a note and some more gold to cover the damages to the carriage.
When The Brunch Club went to check on the coachman in the morning, he and his carriage were gone. Without knowing where or when Solania was going to contact them, they decided to sell Lady Tiroll’s necklace, then get brunch.
They brought the necklace to the ‘I Don’t Karat All’ jewel smithery run by Tuft and his grandmother, Nedna.
Tuft’s eyes lit up happily when Salys walked through the door. His excitement softened a bit when he saw the rest of The Brunch Club follow her inside.
“Hi Salys,” Tuft greeted her. He waved at her friends politely acknowledging their presence as well.
“Hey Tuft,” Salys said. She leaned close to him and they chatted quietly for a moment. Then she handed him Lady Tiroll’s necklace. “We’d like to sell this, how much can you give us?”
Tuft took the necklace. “I think grandma already appraised this at around two thousand gold,” he said.
“How about twenty-one hundred?” Salys said. “Two thousand for the necklace, and an extra hundred for the cool story that goes with it?”
Tuft could not resist Salys’s smile, and it was a good story, so he agreed to the price.
After selling the necklace, the group went to the Elfsong Tavern for brunch. It was crowded, which made them hesitant to talk about the previous night, or what the job Solania had for them might be. Having no other plans though, they took their time and enjoyed a leisurely mid-morning meal. Near the end of the meal, Vorjhon excused himself and went to avail himself of the water closet.
While he washed his hands in a small cistern, a portal appeared next to him. Solania stepped into the bathroom.
“I’m glad you didn’t show up a minute ago,” Vojhon said.
“Likewise,” Solania said, with a light laugh. “I assume you got my note?” she then asked him.
“Note?” Vorjhon said, cautiously.
“The Gods watch over us all. We must bring them back,” Solania recited. It was the message written on the note the bartender at the party secretively handed him.
“So that was from you,” said Vorjhon. “Interesting sentiment coming from a member of the Council.”
“Do you disagree?” she asked.
“Of course not,” the paladin said. “I am only curious why a wizard would want divine magic back in her city.”
“Right now there is no balance of power in Elnor. Some members of the council feel they can do what they want with impunity. Absolute power in government makes me uneasy,” explained Solania. “Powerful clerics and paladins could help keep the council in check.”
“How can we help you bring the Gods back to Elnor?” Vorjhon asked.
“That will come later. For now, the council has another job for The Brunch Club. Go to the ruins of the Temple of the Raven Queen at midnight tonight. My representative will meet you there. Do not worry about any limitations. Your group will be granted a special license to cast divine magic while on Council business. ” Solania finished her instructions and cast a new portal next to her.
“Before I go,” she said before entering the portal, “We looked into the cultists you told Captain Unterpant about. We believe they were trying to summon a Kraken.”
“I believe we killed them before they could summon it,” Vorjhon told her. “But there could be more of them in the caves.”
“We’ll be looking into that as well.” Solania assured him. “Don’t forget, Temple of the Raven Queen at midnight tonight. Don’t be late,” she warned him as she stepped into the portal. It disappeared behind her.
When Vorjhon got back to the table he noticed the rest of the group was getting ready to leave.
“We’re going to go see what Captain Grath is up to while we wait for Solania to contact us,” said Elora, failing to hide her eagerness at seeing the handsome and muscular ship captain once again.
Vorjhon waited until they were out of the tavern and on a less crowded side street before he told them Solania had visited him in the bathroom.
“I didn’t think Solania was that kind of girl,” Salys joked.
Vorjhon pretended not to hear Salys and told them about his and Solania’s conversation.
When he was finished, Elora said, “Grath should know someone’s trying to summon a Kraken. It could put him in danger.”
“We get it, Elora!” Diesa teased. “You want to see some girth, I mean Grath.”
They flagged down a hansom cab and took it to the elevators that went down to the Port District. Elora quickly spotted Grath’s ship. They requested permission to come aboard, which was granted. Elora led them to Grath’s cabin. The door was open, and he welcomed them in when he saw them approaching.
They told him about the cultists’ attempt to summon a Kraken off the coast of Elnor. He nodded gravely and thanked them for the warning.
Vorjhon reminded them of their midnight appointment. He suggested if they got back to the Inn soon, they’d have time to rest up before they faced whatever Solania had in store for them.
“I only need four hours of sleep, so I think I’ll hang out here for a while,” Elora told them.
Grath smiled and said, “I think I’ll take the afternoon off.”
On their way to the elevators, The Brunch Club, minus their ranger, passed by a potions shop on the boardwalk. Drusilla stopped them.
“We need to get more potions,” said Drusilla. “Since Vorjhon decided to give all of ours to,” she lowered her voice and imitated the dragonborn’s accent, “ ‘ his very good friend.’ ”
Vorjhon said nothing and kept his eyes focused on the ground in front of him.
They spent the money from Lady Tiroll’s necklace on health potions then headed back to the Rampart Wizard Inn to rest up before a potentially long and dangerous night.
Our tale will continue next week in Episode 29
Episode 28 was written by Dominic White and based upon a homebrew Dungeons and Dragons campaign created by 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
- And Brian Messmer, who plays everyone else
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!