Game Recap: In the Whispering Owl

It’s getting close to noon and you enter the common area of the Whispering Owl the next day. The room is pretty packed with locals eating lunch, and there’s an unusual buzz about the place. People are speaking excitedly to one another about something.

As you sit down at one of the few empty tables, being sure to leave a chair empty for Midribin, you hear a loud shushing up front and the room quiets down as a woman steps out onto a small stage area at the back. All eyes turn towards her.

Dovienya recognizes her fanciful garb as those worn by the Swains – the order of bards that sing about the valorous exploits of the Pure. She is holding a small harp and gets ready to perform. The more Pure-eyed patrons (fanatical admirers of the paladins) begin to gather closer to the stage to hear the Swain’s song…

Down in a temple deep under the ground
On a Bright Night where no light can be found
The chaos cultists croaked and crooned
Performed their rites to the dark New Moon
Who heard their revels from far away?
‘Twas Noble Saramae


She marched right in, pulled out her blade
With nary a plea for her Goddess’s aid
Her trusty Justifier ablaze
Their blood washed clean by the holy rays
Who killed them all to Caolaub’s dismay?
‘Twas Noble Saramae

The cult had summoned a demon beast
to unleash on us all, on our souls to feast
A winged thing with teeth and claws
Its presence defying the gods’ own laws
Who had it banished by break of day?
‘Twas Noble Saramae

Like a hero in a Gotwinus play,
Who rushed so bravely into the fray?
We’re in her debt and can never repay
Who’s earned our praise? Hip Hip Hooray!
‘Twas Noble Saramae

For the last few verses, most of the patrons are singing along and raising mugs in honor of the paladin. At song’s end, the Swain takes a bow to much applause and then departs the stage. None of you noticed but Midribin had already snuck in and sat down at your table. She smiles awkwardly at Nim and Daisy for a second, paying Dovienya no mind, and then leans forward conspiratorially –  immediately launching into a longwinded update about her findings, her voice low but excited as she passes on her findings:

“Okay, so, I think I’ve tracked down this fallen druid you’re after. There’s been this raft of magical item thefts all across the city, right? No one knows who’s doing it, and the whole Eye-in-the-Hole is tearing its hair out. They want nothing more than to stop their new competition, but they’re stumped as to who it is. Several guild members have been robbed themselves by the culprits, so they’ve been making a list of what everybody’s missing. I got my hands on this list, and saw that someone had reported a stolen item described as a ‘stone with a hole in it’. Now, I’ve done some research into this, and I think there’s a possibility, a slim one, that this could be a druid thing. I don’t know much about it, but druids are supposed to use stones with holes to, I don’t know, look through tree trunks, or see invisible moss, or something. Anyway, turns out that the owner of the thing is a woman who goes by the name ‘Madam Dutafrayan’. She’s a well-known figure in the guild – runs a child gang of pickpockets called the Orphans. Doesn’t seem like a druid, but who knows? If we could somehow track this hole-y stone down and then return it to this Madam Dutafrayan, she might spill the beans, admit her druid past, and tell you whatever it is you are wanting to know about the Tree of the Dead. So, about that… if the same thieves who are taking the magic items took the druid-rock, I might have a lead, not much of one, but… well, so this one friend of mine has this other friend who says she spoke to this like weird, beaked bird-man guy sitting on a rooftop a few nights ago and this thing apparently taunted her, boasting about how it snatched her pearl of power a few weeks back, and then it just disappeared, walked through a wall, she said. I don’t know what any of that could mean, but maybe it’s a lead? I mean, it sounds absurd, but maybe, like, what if plane-shifting bird people are stealing the things?”

Midri pauses for breath and looks expectedly at you all, even Dovienya, who she seems to notice for the first time. “Oh, hello. I’m Midribin.  Nice to meet you.”

Daisy huffs into her mug, her eyes still on the stage. “That’s not what happened at all! That shiny chrome giant took all the credit! WE should have a song written about us. HMMPH.” Looking up, her eyes fall on Midribin at last. “Oh hey, you’re back. Why are we looking for druids again? Don’t we have enough creepy people mad at us?”

“Well I thought you did splendidly,” Nim pipes up softly, ever the friend-flatterer. She sort of deflates into her usual soft mumble though, when it comes to explaining her visions. “I was hoping to find this Fairweather person, find out about the tree that I uh… that I saw.” She gestures vaguely, outlining the shape of an upside-down tree. She turns to Midribin at the finish of her story, nodding slowly. “I don’t think that sounds too impossibly crazy, I mean, it is… it is an unusual time, currently, in Farglad. What I mean is, I think we are open-minded about it.” She glances back at Daisy and Dov, uncertain if they want to discuss anything about how well they’ve vetted the bird-people theory of the crime. “Miss Midribin, would you have idea where we might find Madam Dutafrayan?” she ventures, still fidgeting as if uncertain what to do with her hands.

Midri tilts her head slightly, her half-goblin face scrunching up in confusion at Daisy’s words (‘chrome giant’?), but Nim’s compliment brightens her back up and resets her focus.  “Yes, yes! I can get us all a meeting with her pretty quickly, but we would need that druid-rock that was stolen from her first. I think I might know a spell that could help us locate it. The only thing is…” Midri scans your faces looking for the right candidate. “One of you will need to be turned into a pigeon.”

Daisy chokes on her drink, face reddening alarmingly. Unable to speak through the coughing, she shakes her head furiously from side to side.

“Look, I am one hundred percent in favor of turning Daisy into a pigeon,” says Dovienya. “But I’ve got another meeting in about an hour so can we wrap this up?  Stone about this big, with a small hole just off center?  Yeah, I’ve got one of those.  So could you go ahead and set up that meeting for us?  I’m Doug, by the way.  Pleasure to meet you.”

“Oh, hey.” Midri looks at Doug quizzically. “So you’ve got a stone like that? …Can I see it? …Where’d you get it?”

Daisy grumbles something that sounds not entirely unlike I’ll turn YOU into a pigeon. And cook you in a stew, but then pauses. “Wait, you do? Have you just been carrying that around this whole time??”

Doug completely ignores Daisy and replies to Midribin. “I got it when we broke up a stolen-goods ring last night.  I guess it’s just good luck that we found out who it rightly belongs to so quickly.”  He takes a quick look around the room to make sure no one is paying them any particular attention before producing the stone from his cloak and sliding it across the table to Midribin.

Midribin picks up the milpreve from the table and begins to peer at it from various angles. As she does so, her large, luminous orange eyes seem to light up even more in excitement. She then places an eye up to the stone’s smooth-edged hole and looks through. As there are no trees in the inn to see through and an unsurprising lack of invisible moss, she sees nothing out of the ordinary.  She shrugs, but smiles widely.  “This is it! … Wow, what luck indeed!  Brega’s really showin’ the roads to you.”  She looks appraisingly at Dovienya.  “Stolen-goods ring, eh?  As in magical stolen-goods?  Do tell, Doug.”
Dovienya glances briefly to where the Swain was recently singing.  “I’m sure Daisy would love to tell you all about it, but it will have to be another time.  Like I said, I’ve got some other things to do today.  And you…” Dovienya plucks the stone back from Midribian’s hands “have a meeting with a druid to set up.”
“Hold on Mister Fancy Boots,” Daisy punctuates her interruption with a stab at her plate, piercing a sausage that she then shakes at “Doug”. “We can’t go chasing after crazy tree ladies until we know what happened to my brother.” Turning to Midribin, she says, “Hey, you said your…” she waves the sausage airily, “people are interested in the Sovereigns, right? Well they have my brother captive right now. I mean, I guess they don’t want him dead at this point, considering they killed their own guy to save him, but…the little idiot’s family, you know? I need to know what happened to him.”

Midribin looks back and forth between Daisy and Dovienya.  Then she sighs and looks dejectedly down at the table top.

“I have a lot of questions. And you have a lot of answers. It seems Brega is putting you right where all the action is – where all the answers are. I can’t say I blame you for not trusting me yet. I’ve given you little reason so far. That’s why I was hoping I could help you find this druid –  show you that I am here to help.  [Sigh] …I wish Primwizard was here. He was the best at the whole getting-people-to-like-you thing. Or even Ruthorian. If you can get past his weird… art.  I was hoping his efforts to rescue you from Tupelu would show you that we Wick are on your side.”
She suddenly looks back up at you all.  “Oh, I meant to tell you – Ruthy did hear word from that professor that you recommended get in touch with him. They’ve been working together on that jewel and figuring out maybe why a  certain… uh…” Midri glances around the room, nervously. “…big, blue…  er, scaly… guy… might be interested in it.”
Midri straightens and then addresses Dovienya.
“You’re in a hurry, I hear that. And I do understand your situation right now in the city is… difficult.  I’ll go right now and set up the meeting with Dutafrayan.” She jots down an address on a scrap of paper she pulls from a coat pocket and hands it over. “Meet me here with the stone when the towers are at firstlight.  I’m sure she’ll be willing to talk if we return her memento to her.”
Then to Daisy, Midri says, “I am sorry to hear about your brother. It does sound like he should be taken away from the Sovereigns.  Does this mean you are out of their good graces?  Can you not go back to the Fang? Is Averon not speaking to you? Who did they kill – did you say one of their own? Furik? Absessa? Runabal?!  Sorry, sorry! I can’t help but ask questions. Keeping up with the Sovereigns is my whole purpose here.  It’s why I’m in Farglad in the first place.  I swear to you, I just want to help! The Wick wants to help. But I can’t do anything unless I know what’s going on. But first, let me help you with this druid.”
And with that, Midribin gets up from the table and gives you all a brief nod, her face worried but determined. She then makes her way quickly out of the inn.
Dovienya looks down at the table and puts his head in his hands.  “I didn’t mean to upset her.  I’m so focused on my own stuff that it’s easy to forget that other people have other priorities.  And we do owe her some answers.  About Trimphid, but most of all about Gleaming.  If he’s back then Ruthorian’s group needs to know about it.  But first there’s some things you both need to know.  Last night I read the codex and the two of you deserve to know what it says.”
Nim’s goodbye to Midribin dies halfway past her lips, her mind reeling with what should be said or unsaid until she’s a tangle of indecision. “Oh, um,” she tries again, picking at her sleeve. “Dov, she has a point, I’m not sure the Sovereigns will always tolerate us. I still don’t like them, I mean, if nothing else because they seem to have no trouble empowering these awful Trimphid sorts and act shocked that they’re awful.” She quicky tries to press her fingers back down over a loose thread in her shirt, however, when an invisible force gleefully tries to unravel it further. “My personal feelings aside that they’re a better choice but still tangled in this… this… puppet master playing both the sides. We might really need the Wick’s help if the Sovereigns come after us. I know you didn’t mean to be… mean… just… try to be nice next time,” she ventures awkwardly. But at the mention of the Codex her eyes grow wide. “So… what does it say?”
To Be Continued…

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