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Welcome to Episode 35 of the Rescued by Dragons fantasy podcast, Tales of the Brunch Club:
My name is Brian Messmer and I am not only your story teller, but the dungeon master behind the homebrew Dungeons and Dragons campaign this story is based on. Please join me as I tell the tale of how my players, and the dice, ruined and improved my perfectly laid plans.
But first, a quick recap…
In episode 34, The Brunch Club reached Kalavar’s island, but their ship could not get close to shore. They took rowboats to complete the journey but were attacked by eight harpies who immediately charmed everyone but Diesa. The dice rolls of fate were repeatedly not in their favor and one by one, the members of the Brunch Club fell. Fortunately a great bronze dragon living on the island took pity on them and came to their rescue. When they awoke in the dragon’s cave, they learned that he was, in fact, Kalavar. They convinced him to come back to Elnor with them. As a reward for their courage, he gave them a set of enchanted leather armor, which the group decided Diesa should have. Kalavar let them rest to regain strength after their near death experience. The next morning they rode Kalavar back to Elnor where he made a dramatic entrance by landing on the Crystal Spire of the great library
Episode 35, “Vacation, All I’ve Ever Wanted”
A small throng of merchants and tradesmen, who were normally up at an early hour, gathered below the Crystal Spire Library to watch the mighty bronze dragon shoot lightning into the air.
Kalavar heaved himself off the crystal spire and glided down to the large expanse of steps that led to the library. When the dragon landed, those watching noticed there were six people riding the dragon’s back. A chorus of “Who are they?” passed through the onlookers as they watched five members of the group slide down the dragon’s tail. They landed gently on the steps, as if dismounting from a dragon was an everyday occurrence for them. The sixth member, a silver haired elf in black armor, tripped on one of the dragon’s scales and tumbled down the side of the noble beast. She landed in a heap behind her colleagues.
“Way to kill our dramatic entrance, Dru,” Salys kidded her.
Drusilla stood up quickly, acting as if everything was normal.
A portal appeared on the steps in front of them and Solania stepped through it. She looked as powerful and beautiful as ever, not like someone who had just been woken up by the arrival of a dragon in their city two minutes earlier.
“I’m glad to see you’re all safe,” she said warmly. “I began to worry when The Damsel arrived without her passengers and Captain.” She smiled at Captain Butler. “Thank you, Frank. Another job well done. Your crew will be happy to see you.”
Captain Butler bowed, knowing this was his cue to depart. “My pleasure, as always,” he said and walked down the steps, ignoring the astonished stares of the small crowd.
The dragon seemed to shimmer for a moment. It’s giant body collapsed in on itself and shrunk in a twisting blur of smokey ribbons before coalescing into the form of a stern looking, elderly wizard in bronze robes.
“Solania,” the dragon greeted her.
“Kalavar, thank you so much for answering my request.” Solania maintained an official air of dignity, but the others could tell she was barely containing her nervous excitement.
Solania turned to the Brunch Club and asked them to each hold out their hands so they might receive their reward. All of them did, except Jory who stepped back, not sure if he had been with the group long enough to deserve one. Diesa elbowed him in the ribs and silently gestured for him to hold out his hand. In each of their hands, Solania placed a stone. The stones were hexagonal and engraved with the symbol of the Crystal Spire Library. Elora, Salys and Drusilla stared at the stones and realized that after all this time, they finally gained access to the fabled library, and possibly the answers to their questions they had been seeking for so long.
“Cool rocks,” Diessa commented.
The stones vanished in their hands. The symbol of the Library glowed faintly beneath the skin of their palms before fading away.
“Very cool rocks,” Jory agreed.
“The library cards are a part of you now. You are able to come and go to the library as you please,” Solania said to them.
“Speaking of coming and going,” interjected Kalavar. “It might be best for you to leave Elnor for a week or so. Not everyone is going to be happy I am here, and if they learn that you are responsible for my arrival, it may not be safe for you.”
“We should go back to Wheaton,” said Drusilla.
“Excellent idea. Follow me,” said Solania as she ascended the steps to the doors of the library.
They entered into a large hallway with runes carved into the floor. When they stepped across the markings, they felt their hands tingle slightly. They looked at them and saw the sigil of the Crystal Spire Library glow just beneath their palms once more.
Just past the hallway, another engraving was etched into the floor. This was a round design and large enough for several people to stand in the middle. As the group approached, energy arced and crackled just above the floor’s surface. Solania put her hand out to stop the group. A portal opened in the middle of the carved runes and a large figure stepped out. He was a half orc. He wore nothing more than boots and a kilt. A large bag was slung over his shoulder. A cockeyed chicken poked its head from the bag’s opening as the strange figure passed them without acknowledging their presence.
“Master Gobbler,” Solania greeted him curtly with a quick nod.
The half orc grunted a quick “Good day” and continued down the hallway.
Solania made no further mention of the half orc and invited The Brunch Club to step inside the circle. She took a large gem from the inside of her robe, which caught Diesa’s appreciative eye. Solania held her hand over it, muttered an incantation, and a bright blue light surrounded the party, obscuring their view of everything else in the room outside the circle.
The light faded and they found themselves standing in front of the fountain in the main square of Wheaton. The party looked around appreciating their sudden change of surroundings, except for Drusilla who teetered, off balance.
“Sorry, I wasn’t expecting that,” she apologized as she grabbed Diesa’s shoulder to steady herself.
“Elves,” Diessa muttered under her breath. “Too damn tall.”
“I heard that,” Elora said.
Wheaton looked in much better condition than when they had left it. The buildings that were burned during the gnoll invasion were nearly repaired. The city gates and guard tower were completely rebuilt.
“So what now?” Jory asked.
“Brunch!” the rest of them said in unison, and led Jory to the White Claw Inn.
At brunch, the group decided they should go see Saberhagen and catch him up on their adventures, and give him the supplies he had asked the group to fetch for him while in Elnor.
“Who’s Saberhagen?” asked Jory.
They told Jory and Diesa that Saberhagen was the wizard who owned the Sun Spot magic emporium and acted as a sort of patron for The Brunch Club in exchange for them spreading word of his store and magic inventory across the land. They hadn’t actually seen much of the land outside of Wheaton and Elnor though, so as of yet, they hadn’t lived up to their part of the bargain. Elora told them it was Saberhagen that gave her the Phoenix arrow. They all conveniently left out the small tidbit of information for Diesa and Jory that Saberhagen was a cat.
Drusilla, Elora, and Salys led the way to the Sun Spot, a few paces ahead of Jory and Diesa.
“I feel like we’ve experienced so much since we were last here,” Salys said.
“I do too, and it hasn’t even been that long,” Drusilla agreed.
“We should walk through town like we’re really cool,” suggested Salys.
“Yes!” Drusilla agreed enthusiastically. “Like in a flying ‘V’ formation!”
Diesa and Jory watched as Drusilla stepped forward and Salys and Elora fell back a bit on either side of her. They matched strides, although Salys did have to add a couple steps to keep formation.
“Why are they walking so slowly?” Jory whispered to Diesa.
“I have no idea,” she answered.
“Weird… How long have you known them?” he asked.
“Not long enough, apparently,” said Diesa.
They saw a familiar face on the way to the Sun Spot. It was Druron, the blacksmith who had given Vorjhon his two headed flail, Eclipse, as a gift for saving the town from the gnoll attack.
“We should probably let him know about Vorjhon,” Salys said solemnly.
They approached the blacksmith who greeted them politely. Drusilla told him what happened to Vorjhon, and apologized for not being able to return Eclipse to him, but assured him it served the paladin right up until he sacrificed his life to save his friend.
Druron accepted her apology and wished the rest of them luck and hoped they did not befall a similar fate. He also told them the gnolls had not returned to the town, though small groups of them were regularly spotted in the forest to the north.
They bid the blacksmith good day and proceeded, in formation, to Saberhagen’s.
The magic bell rang when The Brunch Club opened the door to the Sun Spot.
“Wow!” exclaimed Jory, with wonder. “I’ve been in magic shops before, but this place is incredible. It looks like an eccentric wizard’s attic.”
“Thank you,” a voice said behind him.
Jory turned to see a formally dressed human male standing there. His hands were extended and held a pillow. A black and white tuxedo cat with a fancy jeweled collar sat regally on the pillow.
“I’m glad you like my little store, halfling,” the cat said.
“Oh my gods! You have a talking cat! This is great!” Jory said happily. “You must be the best wizard ever!”
Saberhagen narrowed his eyes at Jory. He then noticed Drusilla, Elora and Salys standing in the doorway, grinning mischievously.
“You didn’t tell him, did you?” the cat asked them.
“Nope!” said Elora, no longer able to conceal her laughter.
“Saberhagen, this is Jory. Jory, this is Saberhagen,” Salys said, introducing them.
The wizard glared at Salys. “I now prefer to be addressed as, ‘His Lordship Saberhagen, Bane of Canines, Master of Magic, Taker of Naps.’”
Salys shrugged. “Whatever, ‘Saberhagen’s’ been working so far.”
Saberhagen seemed to notice the dwarven rogue with the fresh scars on her face for the first time.
“You’re terrifying,” Saberhagen said matter of factly to Diesa
“Thank you,” replied Diesa in the same tone, before sneezing loudly. “I’m allergic to cats” she said without apologizing.
Jenkins placed Saberhagen, as well as his pillow, on a stool next to the shop’s counter.
Drusilla presented a cloth sack to the wizard. “Here’s the items you wanted us to get you from Elnor,” she said.
“It took you long enough. That was weeks ago,” the wizard replied curtly. “You go off on adventures and forget about old Saberhagen. I see how it is.”
Drusilla told Saberhagen everything the group had done and been through since they were last in Wheaton. If the cat was sad about Vorjhon’s demise, he did not show it.
When Drusilla finished her tale, Saberhagen said, “Jenkins!”
Jenkins clapped twice to summon himself to his master’s side. He began taking the items out of the bag one by one. As Jenkins placed each item on the counter, Saberhagen looked at them and said “Excellent,” then batted each one onto the floor with his paw.
“Jenkins, pick those up,” the cat said once the bag was empty. “Better late than never,” he then said, turning to the Brunch Club.
“Um, technically, you never gave us a deadline,” Salys pointed out.
Saberhagen ignored her. “If there’s nothing else then, I have to get back to my nap,” he said, hoping to dismiss them.
“Actually,” Drusilla said, much to the cat’s annoyance. “We found these in the tomb where Vojhon died. Can you identify them for us?”
Drusilla placed a purple gem, a gold brooch, and two identically engraved, rectangular stones on the counter.
Saberhagen looked at the objects. His tail twitched with interest. He dismissively slid the stones to the side and said, “these are just sending stones,” before inspecting the gem and brooch more closely.
“What are sending stones?” asked Elora.
The cat rolled his eyes and huffed at the group’s ignorance of all things arcane. “It allows two people holding the stones to cast a sending spell between them once per day,” he explained quickly.
Drusilla picked the stones up excitedly and exclaimed, “Cool! Rocky Talkies!”
Saberhagen stared at her blankly. “Sure,” he said before turning his attention back to the remaining two items.
“This,” he said, pointing to the gold piece of jewelry, “is a brooch of protection. It will give its wearer extra protection against force damage.”
The group decided Salys should wear that. She took it and pinned the small gold shield happily to her robe.
“Now this,” said Saberhagen with a hint of excitement creeping into his normally aloof manner, ”is an Ioun Stone. It’s very useful.”
“What does it do?” asked Diesa, admiring the beautiful gem.
Saberhagen moved it around on the table with his paw, tipping it over and over to admire its facets. “As of yet, I am not quite certain. There’s a few different varieties of these. Only one way to be sure.” The cat began muttering an incantation as his eyes glowed with a silver energy. One quick Identify spell later and he had an answer for them. “A caster can store a small amount of spell energy in this stone for later. The spells can then be cast by anyone wielding the stone, regardless if they are a spell caster or not,” Saberhagen explained.
“Given our luck lately, we should fill it with healing spells,” muttered Jory.
Drusilla took the Ioun Stone, thanked Saberhagen for his expertise, and hoped he enjoyed his nap.
“It was nice to meet you, His Lordship Saberhagen, Bane of Canines, Master of Magics, Taker of Naps,” Jory shouted back to the wizard on the way out.
“I like that one,” purred the cat as he curled into his warm pillow.
“Where to now?” Salys asked as they stood outside the Sun Spot.
“We should pick up something to make a shrine for Harir on the Island,” Drusilla suggested.
“Oh yeah!,” agreed Elora. “Maybe a big pile of beef jerky!”
“You’re not going to build a shrine to Vorjhon?” Jory asked curiously.
“Oh yeah, I guess him too,” said Drusilla.
“We could get a pair of silver plated boots,” suggested Salys.
After much debate about an appropriate tribute to Vorjhon, they finally decided on a shining steel weathervane in the shape of Bahamut for the top of the lighthouse.
They placed the order with Druran at his forge, then went to Wilhelm’s Wares dry goods store to get beef Jerky before heading to the island.
The craggy ex-fisherman Morton greeted them warmly at the docks and pointed out a rowboat that was reserved for them to go to and from the island as they pleased. As they rowed across the harbor, Drusilla pointed out which of the two lighthouses in the harbor was theirs and told Jory and Diesa, “When we first came to this lighthouse it was infested with herpes.”
“Your lighthouse had herpes?” Jory asked, confused.
The others burst into laughter.
“I said ‘Harpies’” Drusilla protested.
“Oh no,” Elora laughed. “You definitely said ‘herpes.”
“Man, I hate it when your lighthouse gets harpies. They’re so annoying and hard to get rid of,” Salys joked.
“They keep coming back too,” Elora added through tears of laughter.
“Fuck you guys,” Drusilla said, crossing her arms in frustrated submission. “You know what I meant!” she pouted playfully.
They tied the dory up at the newly rebuilt dock and walked to Harir’s stone grave to place their offering of beef jerky upon it. After a respectful moment of silence, they continued to the lighthouse.
The lighthouse looked bright and fresh with a new coat of white wash on it’s stone surface. The scaffold was still up, but it had begun to be dismantled. A new, thick, freshly varnished oak and iron door was now in place. It wasn’t until they went to open it the group realized none of them had a key.
“No worries,” said Diesa. She took out her lock picking tools and began feeling around the tumbler mechanism inside. It was a quality lock, but Diesa was able to open it within a few minutes.
The transformation inside the lighthouse astonished them. The once abandoned, rotting lighthouse interior now looked like a warm inviting home. The first level contained a kitchen and dining area with several comfortable chairs and sofas in a separate conversation area. The next three levels were split into living quarters. The top floor, where the beacon and other equipment once sat, was now an open circular room encased in glass.
“This would make a great alchemy laboratory,” Drusilla said with enthusiasm.
They took the rowboat back to shore and went to see Mayor Gladstone to tell him of Kalavar’s arrival in Elnor. The mayor seemed genuinely glad to see them and seemed hopeful that Wheaton’s strained relationship with Elnor might improve if Kalavar could indeed check the Council of Five’s power.
“How long do you plan to stay in Wheaton?” the mayor asked them.
They looked at each other quizzically. They hadn’t thought about what their plans were other than laying low for a week.
“I could use a little break after dying twice in less than a week,” Salys said.
“I’d like to set up my alchemy lab and make us some healing potions,” said Drusilla.
“How long will that take?” asked Elroa.
“About six weeks,” the cleric answered.
“Six weeks with no one trying to kill us,” Salys said, leaning back in her chair and crossing her arms behind her head. “That sounds like the perfect vacation.”
Our tale will continue in Episode 36
Episode 35 was written by Dominic White and myself, Brian Messmer. The story is based upon my own homebrew Dungeons and Dragons campaign.
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!