Tales of The Brunch Club 043 “The Plane Truth”

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Welcome to Episode 43 of the Rescued by Dragons fantasy fiction podcast, Tales of the Brunch Club:

My name is Brian Messmer and I am not only your storyteller but the dungeon master behind the homebrew Dungeons and Dragons campaign this adventure 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 42, Jory and Salys fought the pirates aboard the Rod’s Curse. The rest of The Brunch Club, along with Captain T’Hard and some of Wheaton’s town guard, commandeered a boat and gave chase. Drusilla gave Elora a potion of climbing, which she used to scale the ship’s mast. From her perch atop the sails, she killed the rest of the pirates with accurate and lethal shots from her longbow.

The smaller ship caught up to them and they secured the Rod’s Curse. Diesa found a chest in the captain’s quarters and picked the lock. She found several gems and an oil of slipperiness as well as enchanted crossbow bolts. After bringing the boat back to Wheaton they salvaged five cannons, which Jory taught the townsfolk how to use.

After another magic goose sighting, The Brunch Club, along with the guards and able-bodied citizens who stayed behind to defend Wheaton, began their watch. A full day and night went by without any sign of the gnoll warband. Through a scrying spell, Saberhagen discovered the warband was still marching west, long after they should have arrived at Wheaton.

While they tried to figure out what was going on, Rajat appeared outside the town gates and called for Elora. He accused her of avoiding him and demanded to know the secret of returning to the Feywild. If she did not get him back to the Feywild within two weeks, Trademeet would be burned by the gnolls.

Elora decided to leave the safety of the town walls and go out to meet Rajat face-to-face.

And now…

Chapter 43 “The Plane Truth”

Elora ran to the city gates. The Brunch Club followed on her heels. “I’m going out to meet him,” she said to them.

“We’re coming with you,” Jory insisted.

“Fine,” Elora relented. “Just stay behind me and don’t look aggressive,” she said as she took off in a dash through the snow.

“Diesa, maybe you should stay here,” Jory said, before dashing after Elora.

Drusilla and Salys ran out after Jory while Diesa stood and wondered how she could help from so far away. Then she saw the nearby cannon and smiled.

As Elora got within a couple hundred feet of Rajat, she slowed down to approach him with more caution.

“So, Elora!” Rajat bellowed. “I see I’ve finally got your attention,” he added with a snarl.

“Um, who are you?” Elora asked.

“Don’t toy with me!” Rajat screamed angrily.

“No, no. It’s true,” Jory said, panting as he caught up to them. “She has no memory. She doesn’t even know who she is.”

Rajat scowled at the halfling, then stared at Elora through narrow eyes, considering her. “So my name means nothing to you, Elora Riverleaf?” he said.

“My last name is Riverleaf?” asked Elora.

“Cool name!” said Jory.

Elora shot Jory a “can you be quiet for just one second” look and asked Rajat, “How do I know you?”

“We met when you and those fools in your Obsidian Watch found me in the Bloodwood.”

“What were we doing there?” Elora asked.

“I don’t know,” the Druid snapped. “That was a hundred years ago! All I care about right now is you getting me back to the Feywild.”

“I don’t know how to do that,” Elora said.

“Well then, Trademeet burns,” Rajat scowled.

“I think I know someone who can tell me how to get you back to the Feywild,” Elora said. “I’ll find a way to get you back if you call off the attack on Trademeet.”

“I can try. But once a Flind gets on the warpath, their bloodlust is hard to cool. But even if they do burn down Trademeet, I’ll make sure that’s as far as they go.” he said without pity.

“Alright,” Elora sighed with reluctant resignation. “I’ll help you.”

“How can I trust you?” Rajat said. “Give me something I know you’ll come back for. Something precious to you.”

Elora took off her winter wolf cloak and handed it to him. “It’s enchanted. I’ll be back for it.”

Rajat took it from her and nodded. Before he transformed into an elk and disappeared into the forest, he turned back to her and said sadly, “I thought we had something, Elora.”

Drusilla and Salys caught up to them as Elora and Jory watched Rajat depart.

“What happened?” asked Drusilla, eagerly. “Tell us everything.”
“I’ll tell you over brunch,” Elora said. “I need a drink.”

Once back within the walls, they realized there was no tavern to get brunch at, as the town had been evacuated.

They went to the aviary where they sent carrier pigeons to Trademeet to warn them of the gnoll attack two weeks away. More pigeons were sent to Elnor to let Solania know the threat against Wheaton was over and update her on the direction of the gnoll warband.

Diesa suggested that they break into one of the taverns and make breakfast on their own, but the group convinced her they should just go back to their lighthouse and eat there. Jory prepared brunch while Elora filled them in on the exchange with Rajat, and what she had agreed to, and the disturbing fact that they were still going to have to fight the gnolls.

“How are we going to find out about getting Rajat to the Feywild?” Diesa asked.

“Um, there’s a great big library we can teleport to,” Salys pointed out.

“What about Saberhagen? Would he know?” Jory asked.

The group decided it was worth a try.

The black cat looked up from the counter as the Brunch Club entered his magic emporium. “Well, if it isn’t the bringers of false news,” he greeted them sarcastically.

“How do you know we didn’t just scare them off?” Diesa asked.

“I’ve met you,” Saberhagen answered dryly.

“Hey, we were going off your scrying visions,” Elora reminded him. “And why are you still here? I thought you’d have fled to your litter box by now.”

“Did you think,” Saberhagen purred condescendingly, “I wasn’t going to listen in when a Druid shows up outside the gates and starts calling your name?”

“So you heard all that?” Drusilla asked.

“Yes I did,” confirmed Saberhagen. “And wow, that was messed up.”

“So can you help us get him back to the Feywild.”

“There is no specific way to the Feywild,” he told them. “Travel between planes is a very tricky proposition and not in any way straight forward.”

The group responded only with blank stares.

“Do you know about the planes?” he asked them.

“I know there are planes,” Drusilla said.

“Do you know what plane we are on right now?” Saberhagen inquired.

More blank stares gazed back at him.

The wizard sighed, leapt off the counter onto the floor, and told them to follow him. They followed him up the stairs into what looked like a small classroom. A dozen chairs arranged in rows faced a smooth, vertical slate board. Saberhagen hopped up on a stool next to the board. A piece of chalk levitated off a small shelf and began drawing on the dark stone as Saberhagen talked slowly as if he was addressing children.

“We are on the Material Plane,” Saberhagen began. The chalk drew a disk in perspective as if it were lying horizontally. “The center plane of all the planes. All planes have touch points that overlap the material plane. At these touch points, whose locations and time of existence may be fluid, one can transfer between planes.”

“Around the material plane are elemental planes: air, water, earth, and fire. Between those are ice, mud, magma, and conflagration.”

The chalk drew large circles overlapping the first disc to illustrate the other planes.

“Above the material plane, is the Astral plane, where most of the so-called good gods reside. Below the material plane is the Shadow Fell. This is where the bad gods are.”

“Which plane is the Raven Queen on?” Drusilla asked.

“The Raven Queen is an enigma. The best anyone can guess, she exists between the planes,” Saberhagen answered.

“Coooool,” said Drusilla, with pride.

Saberhagen continued, “The Feywild is a parallel plane existing in the same time and space as the Material plane.”

“How can it exist in the same place as the Material plane and we don’t see it?” asked Jory, feeling very confused.

Saberhagen thought for a long moment on how to explain it to the inebriated halfling before answering with, “Magic.”

Jory accepted this answer and Saberhagen continued his lecture.

“The Feywild is the easiest plane to survive in, but it is still dangerous and unpredictable. The laws of nature, time, and magic that you are used to here on the Material Plane don’t necessarily exist in the Feywild.”

“What’s the greatest treasure in all the planes” asked Diessa.

“That depends on who’s asking,” Saberhagen answered her. “A great treasure could be material wealth to one, or spiritual awakening to another, or absolute power to someone else.”

“Pretend it’s a greedy rogue who’s asking,” Jory told him.

Saberhagen listed a few treasures such as The Genuine Bombay Sapphire, legendary artifacts created by the gods and given to mortals, and the Lost Treasure of Bohnlodir

“So how do we send someone there?” asked Salys.

“The touchpoints where the planes overlap the material plane are where you will find portals to those planes. But the portals can be hard to find and may appear for one person, and not to another. They also may be disguised as something ordinary. For instance, you could dive into a clear lake and when you come up for air, suddenly find yourself in the Feywild.”

“Do you know where one of these touchpoints are?” asked Elora.

Saberhagen said he did not, and also warned that memory loss was a common side effect when traveling to and from the Feywild.

“If I traveled back from the Feywild and remembered it, I’d write it down,” Jory mused. “I bet there’s a magic user’s diary in the Library that would tell us where to find a touch point.”

“Is Kalavar powerful enough to teleport Rajat to the Feywild?” Drusilla wondered.

“He does owe us a favor,” Salys said.

“We should probably use that favor on the gnolls heading to Trademeet,” said Diesa.

“So, One: Go to the Library to look for information on touchpoints. Two: Ask Kalavar to kill the gnolls. Three: Get Rajat to the Feywild in exchange for information about Elora’s past.” said Drusilla, counting off their latest to-do list.

“Sounds like a plan,” said Elora.

“To the Library!” said Salys.

They followed Saberhagen to his inner sanctum, stepped into his teleportation circle, and in the blink of an eye, found themselves in the Crystal Spire Library.

Unlike Salys’s last trip to the Library, they did not have to seek out a librarian for assistance. The moment they appeared in the library’s teleportation circle, they saw a gnome librarian walking towards them quickly. He smiled when he saw Salys.

“I was hoping that was you,” Devon said as he handed her the carved wood Bahamut pendant.

“Uh, why does he have your pendant?” Drusilla asked Salys.

“When I was here sending the message to Solania, I gave it to him to enchant for me.”

“That was nice of him,” smirked Diesa.

“I paid him for it!” said Salys, rebuking Diesa’s insinuations.

“Are you a librarian?” Jory asked Devon.

“Yes. Yes I am,” said Devon, pride evident in his voice.

“We need information on touchpoints, plane shifting, and anything related to traveling to the Feywild,” Drusilla told Devon. “Can you help us with that?”

“I can’t, but we do have an expert in our Fey section, Librarian Schittman. He might be able to help you,” Devon answered, pointing in the direction where they would find him.

They found Shittman sitting crosslegged on the floor with his back against a stack of books. He was an older human male with thinning gray hair and the skin tone of a man who spent as little time in the sun as possible. He was reading from a book in his lap while a floating quill dipped its tip in a floating inkpot and wrote in a floating book.

“Excuse me, are you Schittman?” Salys asked.

“I’m working,” the librarian answered curtly, without looking up.

“We’re friends with Solania and Kalavar,” said Elora.

“I doubt that,” Shittman replied, still not looking up from his book.

“We were told you were the library’s expert in all things Fey,” Drusilla said.

Schittman looked up. “I am that,” he confirmed.

“We need to get someone to the Feywild before a town burns down,” Diesa blurted.

The book, quill, and inkpot crashed to the floor. Shittman looked down at the upended inkpot with a frown and glared up at Diesa. “I guess I’m not getting any more research done with you lot here,” he sighed with resignation.

He told them they needed to cast a spell of Planar Shift at a touch point, using a ‘planar fork’ that had been attuned to the Feywild.

“Where would we get one?” asked Elora.

“Well, this is your lucky day,” Shittman said. “Not only am I an expert on the Feywild, I have several Planar Forks already attuned to the Feywild for the low low cost of two-hundred and fifty gold.

“What if we needed it to save a town from burning?” Drusilla asked.

“Two hundred and fifty gold,” Shittman repeated.

Sensing Schittman’s reluctance to talk to them, let alone help them, The Brunch Club bought the Planar Fork and left the Library to seek out Kalavar.

After leaving the darkness of the book stacks, and their eyes adjusted to the bright light of day, they noticed Kalavar curled around the Library’s great crystal spire.

“Hey Kalavar!” Drusilla shouted up. “It’s us!”

The bronze dragon slowly uncurled and dropped gently to the Library steps with a single flap of his wings.

“I sense you’re here to request your favor,” Kalavar said as he bent his head down towards them. “What can I do for you?”

Drusilla told him about Rajat, the Flind, the gnoll shaman Fang, and the gnoll warband marching on Trademeet.

Kalavar considered her words for a moment before answering. “I will do this for you and the favor I owe you will be paid.”

“That’s fair,” Drusilla agreed.

“Well, shall we go kill some gnolls?” he asked, lowering his great bulk down, allowing them to climb on his back.

The Brunch Club failed to hide their excitement at being invited to ride into battle on the back of a dragon. As a large crowd began to gather around them, they scrambled up Kalavar’s scaled hide. When the dragon leapt into the air, they scanned the crowd, hoping the smug Schittman would see them.

They clung onto Kalavar, watching the ground speed past them in a blur. After a few hours they saw two columns of fifteen gnolls marching side by side. The flapping of the dragon’s large wings alerted the warband to their arrival. The gnolls burst into a discordant harmony of yips and howls as they scrambled for their bows and spears.
The gnolls’ arrows were largely ineffectual against Kalavar’s thick scales. Only one managed to pierce the tip of his wing, but it did minimal damage.

Kalavar landed in front of them, drew in a deep breath, then exhaled a swirling bolt of lightning that crackled and popped toward the gnolls. The lightning arced from gnoll to gnoll down the right column, killing all fifteen and leaving the Flind severely wounded.

Though in bad shape, the Flind still held command over the rest of the gnolls. “For the honor of Yeenoghu!” he shouted as he hurled his spear at Kalavar. The remaining gnolls hurled their spears and shot their arrows. Some of them managed to pierce Kalavar’s protective scales, but he ignored them.

Feeling emboldened by her mighty ally, Salys slid off Kalavar’s back and fired her own lightning bolt at the Fang and the Flind. The Fang seemed to take the brunt of the damage. The Flind, though badly wounded, shook off Salys’s attack. Salys realized she could not climb back up onto Kalavar, so she scurried behind him and used his massive leg for cover.

Drusilla stood up and fired a Guiding Bolt at the Flind, burning him, and causing him to glow with a purple aura, making it easier for the next attacker to strike him.

Jory, not wanting to miss out on the fun, ran down Kalavar’s back, slid down his curving tail like it was a staircase banister, and landed in front of two gnolls who were trying to knock their next arrows.

With a flurry of kicks and blows, Jory stunned them both, then ran behind Kalavar to hide by Salys.

“This is so much fun!” he said, taking a deep pull of mead from his bota bag. He offered it to Salys.

“Damn right it is,” Salys agreed, taking a swig from the bag.

They both ducked as Kalavar’s tail swung above their heads and slammed into the stunned gnolls, bludgeoning them both to death.

The dragon then advanced, lowered his head to the ground, and ripped the Flind’s arm off with his teeth, before eviscerating him with a large, sharp claw.

Elora, Diesa, and Drusilla all took aim at the Fang. Diesa’s crossbow bolt missed, Elora’s arrows pierced the Fang, injuring him further, and Drusilla’s guiding bolt delivered the fatal blow.

The remaining gnolls, frightened by Kalavar’s awesome presence and demoralized by the slaughter of their brethren and leaders fled into the woods. Diesa and Jory chased two of them down while Kalavar took care of the rest.

They piled the corpses in a heap, leaving them for the scavengers of the forest.

Our tale will continue in Episode 44

Episode 43 was written by Dominic White, Bethany Powers, and myself, Brian Messmer.

The audio recording of our DnD game session that inspired this episode will be available on our podcast channel this Thursday under the name, Brunch Club LIVE!

Valuable contributions to the story were added by the role playing of:

The recording of our Dungeons and Dragons game session that inspired this episode will be available on our podcast channel this Thursday under the name, Brunch Club LIVE!

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Thank you for listening, and please join me next week to see what my players’ choices, and the roll of the dice, have in store.