Black Birthday

04 Feb 2018 06:00
by: Patrick for Tablets of Cold Death

Skalen woke. It was a wonderful day. The fifth day of Murtul, the fifth month. He knows that one day this day will be special, but for now, it was just his birthday. “Twenty five today,” he thought. “I think I’ll
do a bunch of nothing. I’ve earned it!” Skalen slept in a bit later than normal; it was his birthday after all. Donning his armor around the cloak he can’t seem to take of… “This is getting really annoying,” he muttered. Skalen headed down into the
common room. He was greeted by his traveling companions new and old. With a devious grin Ironbeard slapped Skalen on his back, nearly causing him to face-plant into the table and exclaimed, “It’s your birthday! I’m gonna buy you a real drink! Waitress, bring my friend here a Dwarven Ale!” The waitress arrived with a large tankard of dark brown, nearly black sludge and with a look of concern placed it in front of Skalen. As Ironbeard turned to the waitress, Skalen mouthed in silence, “Help me!” to the rest of his friends at the table. Everyone seemed to take pleasure in the panic in Skalen’s eyes. Skalen took his first bite of the dwarven sludge and was almost instantly hit with a wave of nausea and regret. Ironbeard turned to him and put his hand on Skalen’s shoulder and smiled. Seeing the joy in Ironbeard, Skalen resolved himself to sit in the common room and finish the sludge, no matter how long it took. Conversation continued around the table, but Skalen mostly blacked out, not remembering much of anything that was said.

“KABOOM!” An explosion shook the city. Ironbeard and the rest ran into the street leaving Skalen at the table mumbling something about how lovely Shallis is. There was a cloud around part of the Mage tower with debris still raining down on the buildings nearby. Ironbeard said, “Covfefe!” And then a real look of concern came over him as he remembered and blurted out, “he was in my room!” as he took off running towards the tower. Everyone followed leaving Skalen behind, still having a conversation with an invisible person sitting at the table with him.

Arriving at the Mage tower Ironbeard presented his challenge coin and escorted the rest into the tower. They were greeted with the news that Covfefe exploded again. A mage had gone into the room to speak with him and everything exploded. He was nowhere to be found. Ironbeard was brought into the council chamber. The head mage states, “Covfefe has been abducted. He was training under a head wizard. He appears human, but we now believe he is something else. We now think he is from another plain. Ironbeard, tell us more of how you met him and this Kaplan character.”
Ironbeard tells his story of the sword and cursed ring and how he was directed to a hermit who in exchange for a favor offered to remove the curse. This ended up being Kaplan, a magical disappearing asshole that seemingly has a grudge against Ironbeard’s companion Skalen. Ironbeard offered to get Skalen who might have more insight into Kaplan. Taking his own leave Ironbeard returned to the Inn and found Skalen head down sleeping on the table with his hand wrapped around the mug handle. Seeing three quarters of the Ale left Ironbeard hands the ale to the barmaid and says, “Put this behind the bar. He’ll finish it later.”

Scooping up Skalen and tossing him across his shoulders, Ironbeard ran off back towards the tower with a trail of intermittent half-elf vomit being left behind left behind. A trail to find his way back, no less. Arriving back in the Council chamber Ironbeard props Skalen against the wall and turns to the Head wizard stating, “This is Skalen, who I was telling you about.” The wizard looks to the half-elf as he slides down the wall onto the floor. A look comes over him as he motions to one of the Under Mages lining the outer wall. The Mage scuttles up to him and after having something whispered into his ear goes running out of the chamber. The undermage returns with a water skin and forces a bit of the liquid into Skalen’s mouth. He instantly comes to his senses and slowly stands looking around in bewilderment. Seeing the familiar faces amongst the strangers, Skalen relaxes for a moment and says, “How did I get here?” Without answering Ironbeard says,” Tell them about Kaplan.” Now stone cold sober Skalen obliges and tells them of their encounters with Kaplan and especially the effects of Kaplan on Shallis. They identify Shallis as the leader of the group oppressing the city in their efforts to eliminate slavery. An undermage comes into the room and goes right up to the head Wizard, whispering in his ear. Turning to the group the Head Wizard says, “We believe Covfefe is a changling, possibly part Fey. Also, this wasn’t one of Covfefe’s explosions, but rather was a bomb planted in all likelihood to distract from the true goal of kidnapping him. Also, based on what you have told us, we believe Kaplan is likely from the Abyss.”

“Yeah a Magical Disappearing Asshole!” Iron beard blurted out.

Skalen nodded his head in agreement. The party leaves deciding to scout out the palace and gain an audience with shallis and Daethi. Phenic transforms into a fly and goes in through the window. She finds Daithi’s room and overhears the servants conversation saying that Daithi and Shallis will be out of the palace for a couple days. The party makes their way to the Noble’s house and makes there way inside, where they are introduced to Naomi and Bobby. “There’s a meeting between Shallis and a warehouse owner near the docks scheduled later. It may be the best opportunity for you to see Shallis and Daithi, since they rejected you at the palace.”

The party agrees to infiltrate the meeting. They head down to the warehouse early. Seeing that the warehouse was full of many workers they notice some windows in an upper level and decide to go in that way. Ironbeard misty steps into the room and catches a rope that the others climb up. Ironbeard and Orax wait on the roof as Skalen takes a seat at a table that seems to be set up for the meeting on the second level. Skalen talks his way through a warehouse worker, convincing him the he was sent to secure the area for Shallis. Shallis arrives and sees Skalen and Phenic. Daithi runs to Phenic hugging and greeting her as Shallis climbs into the tall chair set for her at the other end of the table. Sensing Shallis’
contempt, Skalen lets Naomi and Bobby speak about the issues. As they come to an agreement to work together in combatting Xanathars hold on slavery and bolt shatters a window and lodges itself through Shallis’ upper chest. Skalen finds himself on the other side of the table catching her before she hits the ground. The wound begins char and burn, Skalen screams for help as he forces a healing potion down Shallis’ throat. The charring pauses for a moment but continues to grow.

Iron beard hears the glass shatter and turns to see a figure several buildings over clamoring away jumping from rooftop to rooftop. Ironbeard jumps off the roof and gives chase as Naomi follows behind. The bolt is pulled from Shallis’ shoulder and capped in a bottle as Orax casts a spell bringing an end to the spreading infection. Shallis’ falls into a stable condition as Orax leaps from the window and also gives chase. Ironbeard and the rest lose the shooter after he crosses a bridge and goes through a crowd. Having been told that the person stationed there was supposed to be Naomi’s man they investigate to find their man floating in the waters with his throat cut Kaplan style.

Skalen carries Shallis down to their carriage and stays by her side as she ends up in her chamber. After
arriving at the palace Ironbeard and the rest enter the room to see Skalen despondently sitting beside
the bed.

“She’s stable,” Skalen says. “She’s going to be OK. I’m going to stay right here until she wakes up. Iron
beard, I need you to do me a favor. Please finish my Birthday Ale.” Skalen turned back to Shallis and
blocked everything else out.


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