Brigand Five: An Unflankable Story

Chapter 16: Wrong Side Of The Bars

The battered tiefling has disappeared from view amongst the zombified dwarven miners and the heroes are frantic. Othfir reverses the cable car so that it’s just out of reach of the corpses. Quinn, feeling adventurous, hooks a nearby cable with Arradon’s grappling hook and jumps off the still mobile trawler with Geandur. He loses his grip from the rope, but the ever-powerful Geandur manages to catch him before he plummets to his doom. On their way down, Seraphina spots a figure burst through the zombies and crawl into a minecart. As Quinn and Geandur roll onto the ground, the aasimar flies after the minecart as it propels itself into the darkness. As Morningstar’s field of radiant energy begins to fade, the heroes join Othfir and Arradon in the cable car. Seraphina breaks off pursuit and flies to the cable car as well, grabbing the grappling hook on the way.

The slow ride to the top is a frustrating one, their quarry having slipped through their fingers. Unfortunately, their moods are not destined to improve as the entrance to the mine is filled with guard dwarves instead of miners. Lord Frostpeak is also present and he wastes no time in ordering the arrest of the heroes. Frostpeak’s command is instantly met with shock, anger, and confusion, but Othfir’s rage rises above them all. His shouts echoing for all to hear, he invokes his royal lineage and questions Frostpeak’s loyalty to his dwarven blood. This gives the guards pause, but Frostpeak continues glowering and begins listing charges, including destruction of mining equipment, inciting chaos, and the theft of his orb of communication. Geandur reminds the stubborn leader why they were here to begin with and tells him of the zombified miners. Frostpeak claims to have no reason to believe that this atrocity wasn’t committed by the heroes themselves. The guards tighten the perimeter as the dour dwarven leader tells the heroes that they will be taken to the council to stand trial. Knowing they have allies on the council, the heroes reluctantly agree to come quietly.

The disgruntled heroes are locked in a prison cart and are driven down the mountain with a few other caravans. Early on, Geandur and Othfir break all the manacles, and Quinn is glared at for stealing Frostpeak’s orb. As they travel towards the Sphinxwood, Geandur starts chatting with the guards driving the cart. They seem conflicted and tad apologetic, but Othfir remains insulted by their disloyalty. While Geandur tries to gain the guards’ favor, Othfir whistles to a nearby bird. He scribbles a fragmented message on a scrap of paper and instructs the bird to take it to Razmus. Seraphina spends a long time meditating and experiences a vision. A green fog hovers above a stony landscape. A cloaked dwarf steps into view and waves away the fog. He then kneels and constructs a tiny mountain from the sand. From inside the structure, eight ants crawl into view, five black, two a dull red, and one a bright red. Suddenly, the sand mountain and ants are plunged into a great sinkhole and Seraphina awakens to an overzealous poke to the face from Geandur.

Seraphina reveals the dreams she’s been having and their possible relation to future events, such as the burning of the Mossington silos. Concern arises that the council may fall to an attack. After several days of travel, the prison cart descends into the dark underbelly of Orphael’s Crescent. The heroes are passed on to the council prison guards and locked in cells. Geandur tries to make conversation with a nearby guard, but he simply walks away, much to the chagrin of Othfir. Seraphina sense that the prison is protected against magic, and suggests a lock pick. Quinn and Geandur try their hand but the lock doesn’t budge. Hours of counting the minutes between guard appearances go by. When a set of footsteps stop at their cells, the heroes look up expecting a guard.

Instead, a tiefling with pale blue skin and reddish hair stands before them. The heroes recognize the grey-clad fellow as one of Namas Hestral’s entourage. The tiefling introduces himself as Calsius and explains that they need to follow him out of the prison. Despite the non-magic aura, Calsius is able to magically open the cells. As the heroes follow him down the corridors, it appears he has also magically charmed several of the guards as well. As they walk, Calsius explains that all is not well within the council. He claims that there is a traitor among the councilmembers and that the heroes cannot expect a fair trial under the current circumstances. They are stopped briefly when a burly prisoner tries to catch Morningstar and demands that they free him as well. He threatens to alert the guards if they don’t heed his demands and Othfir approaches the cell to negotiate. Instead, the dwarven barbarian grabs the prisoner and slams his face into the bars between them. The oaf knocked unconscious, Othfir motions for them all to continue.

Before leaving the prison, Calsius enchants the heroes so that they appear to be council guards. Mere moments later and they’ve walked through the entrance of Orphael’s Crescent. Calsius leads them into the woods, assuring them that their belongings have already been secured. Soon enough, they reach a large caravan where a bald tiefling sits singing a little tune. Upon seeing the heroes, the singing tiefling asks if they’d like to buy some pots. Calsius waves off what is apparently the tiefling’s cover and ushers the heroes into the caravan.

The inside is lit by a lantern and is modest, but comfortable. Two more tieflings sit waiting for them and the heroes recognize Namas Hestral as one of them. The jet-skinned leader of the caravan looks resigned and regretful, and he opens the conversation by apologizing. He tells the heroes that he should have stepped in earlier, that they knew there would be an impending disaster. He knows the heroes are telling the truth about the events of the Palefort Mine, and, with a sigh, he explains that the diabolical plagueomancer they’ve been chasing is none other than his own sister.

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