Chapter 12: Yeah, He's Evil.

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Session Number: 22
Date: Sunday 23 August 2009
Venue: Alain's
PCs & Players:

Emily Ftr2/Rog2 (Tammi) (kills: none)
Enok Rgr4 (Alain) (kills: none)
Krag Clr4 (Fergus) (kills: none)
Rowaine Pal4 (Craig) (kills: Valen)
Vor-wrek Mnk4 (Densial) (kills: none)

XP Awarded: TBC

That evening the party visit Andre's premises, only to find him not there. The next morning Krag heals Anassia with Cure Light Wounds. There is no visible improvement - only time will tell…

Andre is in his office later on that morning, and has some good news - he has located Valen. He has held a number of jobs recently, including labouring, bartending and cooking. He is currently employed as an accountant by the Great Eastern Shipping Company.

The party visit the offices of the GESC where they are helped by a blonde assistant whose beauty rivals Rowaine's. Valen is in, but non-business related enquiries would have to wait until his lunch break at noon. Rowaine asks that a message be passed on to Valen - she wishes to talk to him about "Anassia".

The group then leave, heading for a nearby tavern. Rowaine orders ale and asks the barkeep whether anyone by the name of "Valen" had been employed there recently.

"Yes, we had a bartender by that name about 2 weeks ago. Very chatty. Great guy - real easy to be around. I miss him."

"Why did he leave?"

"You know, I don't remember!"

At noon the party return to the GESC. The assistant introduces them to Valen, sitting in the reception area. Valen is a smallish man of obscure age.

"Thank you for agreeing to meet us - I trust you received our message?" Rowaine begins.

"Yes - thank you."

"Do you know of a place that we might talk? How much time do you have?"

"As of now, I have all the time in the world. I know of a private tavern. It is not far."

As they walk, Rowaine concentrates on the man, seeking any evil intent. She is disturbed to find that the man bears the faint tinge of evil.

Both parties are very reserved at the tavern, neither wishing to reveal too much. When asked about the shipwreck, Valen says that he was on the ship, bound to protect Anassia. He is anxious to see her, to know if she is alright. He says that her wellbeing is vitally important to the empire. Anassia is distantly related to the emperor. Valen knows that Anassia's necklace protects her, but when both Rowaine and Enok allude to Anassia's true nature (Enok even uses the word "construct"), Valen shows no sign of understanding what is being referred to. Rowaine asks whether there were any on board the ship who were capable of "dramatic supernatural effects". "You mean spells? Probably," Valen admits noncommitally.

Several times during the conversation, Krag senses that something isn't quite right about this Valen, and whispers his misgivings to Rowaine.

"Valen, I'm going to be blunt with you," Rowaine says. "You're evil. I know."

"Are you sure?" Enok says unexpectedly. "Yes, I am sure. Valen, why should we trust you?"

"Hang on, Rowaine," Enok says. "Valen may be evil but that doesn't mean he isn't a nice person."

WTF?

Valen goes on to say that in his duty to the emperor, he has had to perform various … regrettable tasks - but always for the greater good.

"We should at least let him see Anassia, Rowaine…" Enok adds. "Let him see with his own eyes that she is alright."

Rowaine thinks this over. She distrusts Valen, but respects Enok's opinion…

"Valen," Rowaine says. "Would you accompany us to Moradin's temple?"

"Of course."

On the way, Krag's discomfort increases. "I'm going on ahead, Rowaine. See you at the temple." With that, Krag runs off.

Enok and Rowaine are left to escort the unusual man to Moradin's temple. Rounding a bend, both of them spot a couple of shady-looking individuals ahead.

"What's the problem?" asks Valen.

"Could be trouble," Rowaine says in response, trying to gauge whether any communication has passed between Valen and the interlopers. "Stay behind us," adds Enok.

The trio pass between the nonchalant-looking pair. Rowaine whirls around, catching them holding her with more than a passing interest.

"Yes? What is it? Come on, if you have any BUSINESS here, then by all means, let's have it!"

The pair seem startled into submission when Rowaine feels a bright pain in her right side - Valen's dagger! She whirls around again, loosing her waraxe and retaliating in one smooth motion. She lands a heavy smite. Valen gives ground but does not fall, his dagger held in a firm grasp between them.

Rowaine hits AC 29, doing 14 damage. Her first successful Smite Evil.

Meanwhile, Krag's run towards the temple is interrupted by three figures blocking his path. One stabs him as he tries to barge past and breaks his momentum. Krag sidesteps, wanting only to get past the three smallish dark-cloaked figures, but they easily keep pace with the large half-orc, trying occasionally to shove him into obstructions to slow him down.

Ahead, Emily (remember her?) stands in the street, watching a familiar half-orc rapidly approaching. She stands next to a robed individual and a tiny infernal beast sits atop her shoulder.

"Trouble," she says to her companion. "I know him - he's a friend."

"OK," says her companion. "Stand back."

The man splays his fingers towards one of the figures chasing Krag. The air ripples, as if seen through a vast quantity of hot air, and one of Krag's assailants goes down. The others break pursuit and Krag thuds straight past Emily, responding to her questioning body language with an "Argh!"

"Oh well," Emily mutters. "He looks like he's got control of the situation!"

Krag gets to the temple and finds Fhaschallk.

"Rowaine is in trouble!" he gasps, breathing hard. "It's The Murder, and I'm scared!"

Fhaschalk smiles wryly. "Krag, if I sent out the troops every time one of our paladins was in trouble, there'd never be anyone here. Paladins are supposed to be in trouble!"

Krag finds Vor-wrek and convinces him to come and help Rowaine. And Enok, of course. But mainly Ro, cos she's pretty.

Valen's allies move into flanking positions and the battle is joined. Four more assailants step out of the retreating crowd - suddenly the odds don't look so good! Emily and her companion advance towards the melee from farther up the street, bringing the odds to 7-4 against the party.

7-5 if you count the demon on Emily's shoulder - but does it count for, or against?

Valen and Rowaine trade blows. Rowaine's third hit drops Valen but she is badly hurt.

11pm - time to call it a night!

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