On their first visit to the Nashkel Carnival, Neera asks for Aegon’s help to track down the experience wild mage, Adoy. The party encounters the elf, Aerie, whose mentor is being held hostage by a mage known as Zordral. They step inside his tent, not knowing what to expect.
3 Kythorn 1368
As soon as we enter the tent, we are confronted by Zordral.
Aegon: What’s this all about?
Zordral: She’s a witch. She’ll use her magics to poison the children of this town. She’ll butcher the livestock and she’ll seduce the young men, make them her puppets. She must be killed!
Aegon: What are you talking about? Why the prejudice against a magic user? You said it yourself that you’re a mage. After all, aren’t you going to kill her with your “magic word”? Get a hold of yourself, you idiot.
Zordral: Are you mocking me?! No one mocks the great Zordral. You will pay for your insolence!
The mage forgets his magic word and readies his staff. We aim our weapons.
We manage to wound him before he activates a shield.
I switch to my warhammer and charge the mage. Cat distracts him from casting his next spell.
With his shield, our missiles are ineffective. Everyone switches to their melee weapons and closes in on Zordral. Vienxay cuts him down.
Zordral carries a few coins, a staff and some mage robes. I pass the staff and the robes to Will and he tells us that we have a Staff of the Apprenti. Neera takes this – it will make a useful ranged weapon for her.
Will asks Neera for her crossbow. He says he feels he can be more accurate with this than he is with a sling. He gives his enchanted sling to Dynaheir to replace her normal one.
The robes are Knave’s Robes, designed to protect against assassins.
None of us need robes so it goes into the Bag of Holding. Among his spellbook we find a scroll of Emotion, Fear.
I store this in our scroll case for now: only more experienced mages can learn this spell. We also find scrolls of Burning Hands and Color Spray. I attempt to add them to my spell book, but I fail.
Bentha is grateful for our help.
Aegon: An elven girl asked us to help. Are you alright?
Bentha: You must mean Aerie. I fear she would have tried to fight Zordral herself… I had to be a bit hard on her to convince the child to get herself away to safety. I hope she understands. She’s a good girl, but weighed down by a great sadness. She won’t discuss it with myself, or even Quayle out of respect for all the kindness he’s already shown her. But she grows more and more restless by the day… sometime soon, he’ll have to let her go so she might find her own way…
Oh, listen to me ramble. I must go and rest. Please, take this as thanks.
She gives us a Potion of Heroism and leaves the tent.
We take a look around and find a few coins, a staff, and a couple of books. The History of the Shadowdale VII, I have already read, but the other is a book of poetry.
I notice the funny spine on this book – is this another of Camryn’s letters? I fiddle around with it and a letter falls out.
I always thought the scribes of Candlekeep were too old for anything other than books. The thought that they were…
I stop that thought and stuff the letter into Bartleby’s Letter Case. Vienxay has something to say to Imoen before we leave.
Imoen: What’s got your nose?
Vienxay: I would never permit someone to follow me around like a dog unless they were serving my every need. I suppose that is your purpose.
Imoen: I’ve done had enough of this. You’re not getting a rise out of me.
We leave the tent and talk to Aerie.
Aerie: I might get into trouble for this, but I know where Zeke keeps his scrolls. I… borrowed one, just to look at. I was going to put it back, but I don’t think he’s missed it.
If you can, I would ask that you use it to free the stone woman. It… it is not right to keep anyone imprisoned and on display like that…
And then, if you have the time, please come and see me again. There may be other ways I can find to help you and your friends.
Thank you, once again!
She gives us a Stone to Flesh Scroll. I am reminded of Verr’Sza. She’s right, no one deserves to be on display like that. We set off to find the stone woman.
We wander into another merchant’s tent.
Aegon: Let’s see what you have to offer.
He sells some magical jewellery as well as some protection scrolls.
Outside, Imoen picks the lock on a chest and finds a couple of spears inside.
We enter the next merchant’s tent.
Aegon: Let’s see what you have to offer.
This merchant mostly sells weapons. Nothing we need right now.
Outside we see a gnome calling for us, and a stone woman in the distance.
I approach the gnome.
Aegon: Sorry, we’re not interested.
Zeke: Your loss.
I use Aerie’s scroll to turn the statue back into her former self. Zeke is surprised by this development.
He runs away before we can say anything else. I talk to the formerly stone woman.
Aegon: We’re always on the lookout for another warrior.
Branwen: I am glad to be part of your war party. I will not make you regret your decision. A word of caution though: Beware of the dog that entrapped me in stone. Tranzig, he called himself. He was in the employ of a mercenary group, but I do not know the name. I shall see him dead before I see the shores of home again!
Branwen is badly hurt and has no equipment left. She looks like a skilled warrior though.
She is a Priest, following Tempus, the Lord of Battles.
She has access to the usual priest spells, similar to those Corellon grants me. She can also summon a Spiritual Hammer.
Tempus also grants her Holy Power.
And he allows her to control the Chaos of Battle.
As Branwen is a more experienced priest, Tempus also grants her access to greater divine magic. She can call on Tempus for Aid.
This is a more powerful Bless that affects a single target. Can be useful if you just want to give your tank a boost.
She can touch enemies and Cause Moderate Wounds.
This is a high damage spell. Since Branwen is geared toward a warrior-priest type, this could be an extremely useful spell for her.
She can Chant, giving luck to her allies, and cursing her enemies.
This is effectively Bless and Curse combined.
She can Cure Moderate Wounds with a touch.
She can Draw Upon Divine Might in battle.
This one could be useful since she will be at the head of our party in combat. I’ll have to check what bonuses these increased stats will actually give her.
She can use divination to Find Traps.
I’ve never gotten this spell to work right. Thieves are much better at handling traps anyway.
She can summon some Goodberries.
These last forever, so can be useful to stock up on for out of combat healing.
She can have her magic Hold a Person.
Quickly disable an enemy. Especially good to use on enemy tanks that need to stay far away from our party.
She can instinctively Know an Opponent.
Cast this, then focus all attacks on the target to eliminate them quickly.
She can allow an ally to Resist Acid and Corrosion.
This is the spell we needed when acid spells wiped out half our party at the Gnoll Stronghold.
Or to Resist the Elements.
She can create an area of silence.
If this gets a mage, they are pretty much dead.
She can Slow Poison.
We will be using this a lot when fighting enemies with poisonous attacks.
And she can summon another Spiritual Hammer.
Branwen gets this as a bonus ability 3 times a day, so we don’t need this spell.
Branwen has nothing left on her, so we look through the Bag of Holding to see what we can find. She takes a sling and some plate mail. She says she is skilled with war hammers, but we don’t have any spare. I give her mine, since she is a warrior and will be on point in combat.
As we are getting to know each other, a bard approaches us with a request.
Aegon: Well met and welcome. We can always use another hand. And some music would indeed be good!
Kieria Silverstring: You can? Many thanks to ye. I was getting so very tired of this carnival.
Another bard joins our troupe.
She is a Blade, skilled in the art of the swashbuckling.
As all bards, she can cast both Vocalize and Silence.
She wears a custom set of green armour, designed especially for her.
She also wears a Bard’s Ring.
Her crossbow is a Light Crossbow of Speed, capable of launching bolts at a fast rate.
She is also armed with a long sword, and a carries a Potion of Healing.
Imoen tells us she wants to browse the Carnival by herself. We wish her well, and will catch up with her soon.
Vienxay says she will return to the Friendly Arm Inn. She tells me to come get her when the Cloakwood opens again.
Before we move on, Branwen takes the time to thank us again.
Aegon: That’s alright, Branwen. It was a pleasure.
Branwen: Not merely a pleasure on your part. Those scrolls are not dropped by every gibberling and goblin, and they are worth goodly coin besides. You have sacrificed for me, and I shall sacrifice of my blood and sweat for you.
Neera also wants to talk, continuing our previous conversation.
Aegon: What about it?
Neera: Sometimes I have this problem where I open my mouth and things come out and then I later realise they were kind of inappropriate, and I should probably not have said them.
Aegon: Everyone says things they probably shouldn’t. Really, don’t worry about it.
Neera: I’ll worry about it all I like. Worrying is the sign of the civilised, you know. Also, pants.
I tend to say the wrong thing all the time to get people’s undergarments in a twist.
As a result I tend not to make a whole lot of friends. Don’t get me wrong, I *had* friends in High Forest, but when you might randomly turn them into squirrels, suddenly people got a lot more wary.
Aegon: It’s hard to befriend someone who could hurt you accidentally, I’m sure.
Neera: Apparently it is.
Not sure I said what she wanted to hear. Her wild magic makes her untrusting of others. Or she is too scared to let people close.
Branwen heals herself and we go to another merchant’s tent.
Aegon: It has been a lovely diversion, indeed. What wares have you available?
He sells ranged weapons and ammo. Kieria needs more bolts, so we stock up here.
To the north we find a larger tent owned by another merchant.
Aegon: Show us your wares.
He sells armour, as well as grain and turnips. We buy a medium shield for Branwen, and a keyring.
There is an attractive woman here as well. I see what she has to offer.
Aegon: Well met, Phendra. What kind of service do you provide?
Phendra: Oh, I sell these scrolls for my uncle. He needs the gold to fund his arcane research.
Aegon: Your uncle is a wizard then?
Phendra: Yep! Runs in the family, I know a spell or two myself.
Aegon: Could you sell me some scrolls then?
Phendra: I might be able to help, which ones do you like?
She has a good collection of scrolls, but we aren’t in desperate need right now, so we don’t purchase any yet.
I remember Aerie said to come back to her, so we go to see her in her tent.
I mentioned she was teaching me, yes? I practice both arcane and divine magic in equal measure, so, if need healing or help identifying magical items, I’d be more than happy to help! I’ve grown quite proficient. I mean, t-there was one time bunnies started exploding whenever people petted them, b-but I… I worked out what I did wrong there. Honestly… heh…
Also, Uncle Quayle left quite a few items here that he collected during his adventuring days. We’re supposed to be having a clear out, soon. I am not allowed to give them away, but you can purchase some, if you wish.
Aegon: Tell me about yourself, Aerie.
Aerie: Me? There… there isn’t much to say, really. I am sure my life isn’t nearly as exciting as yours. I just travel with the circus, helping out here and there and watching as the world passes by.
Aerie: Some day, I hope to leave here and find my own place out there. But for now, I have to wait here for my Uncle to return.
Aegon: What do you do with your spare time?
Aerie: I’m studying magic. Quayle usually teaches me, and Bentha sometimes when he’s not here. When I’m not doing that or any other chore, then I usually just go to my wagon to read. Others here have books that they let me borrow sometimes. I like to read about other lands… all the different people there and strange magic and technology and treasures and secrets that have been lost to the ages…
Aerie: I dream that some day I might travel to these places, and use the powers and skills I have learned to help people in real ways out there.
Is there anything else I can help with?
Aegon: Uncle Quayle?
Aerie: He’s not my real uncle. I just call him that because he used to cheer me up sometimes, and then he took me in and helped me get better after I was very ill. With so few visitors this year he headed north, to Baldur’s Gate. There’s another circus there, so he’s going to see if he can persuade any of their acts to join us instead. Crowd always wants to see something new, he says – in the world of entertainment, you evolve or die.
Of course, he also says he was the first person to ever walk upright, so I’m not sure how much of what he says is wise to believe…
He is an experienced adventurer and I’m sure he can take care of himself, but… I do worry when he’s away. If you do come across him in your travels, Aegon, could you please make sure he’s okay? And tell him to hurry back as soon as he can.
If it’s not too much trouble, of course…
Is there anything else I can help you with?
Aegon: Anything happening round here?
Aerie: At the fair? Not much. There are pickpockets about, so be careful. A few acts to see… the only ones I really like are the poets and the dancers.
Eh… sometimes, w-when no one is looking, I watch the dancers and acrobats train, and try to copy them. I’ve gotten quite good, I think, but some of the things they do… I’m just not that strong… yet.
Is there anything else I can help you with?
Aegon: Show us what you have.
Aerie: Of course!
She sells several magical weapons and circlets, as well as some Ioun Stones. We can’t afford anything she has, so we thank her for her conversation and leave.
We keep on exploring and we come across a gnome resting by a campfire.
Aegon: Welcome to ye. Always looking for a good hand at magic!
Skeezer Lumpkin VI: That’s fine… very fine indeed. I’m a fair hand at magic and I like to tinker a bit. I won’t disappoint ye!
This is the first time a gnome has joined us in our travels.
He is an illusionist and a thief.
He knows how to cast Color Spray, Identify, Mage Armor, Magic Missile, and Reflected Image. He also knows a spell I haven’t come across yet.
This is basically a focused Horror spell that is more effective against a single opponent.
He also has the ability to step into the Shadow Plane.
He wears a robe woven out of fabric of his own design.
He also wears something that could be a dwarven helm.
His quarterstaff appears useful at first, but it’s function is unclear.
He also carries a Potion of Perception on his belt.
Will decides to go and find Imoen to explore the carnival with her. We stay at the campfire as he wanders off.
There are some locked chests near the camp. Skeezer shows off his tinkering skills and unlocks them for us. We find some gold and a couple of swords inside, as well as a copy of Metallurgy Today.
It’s time to finish shopping. Let’s see what this carnival really has to offer us.