Now You See Me

Here’s the funny thing about Detect Scrying: those who are scrying you can see you cast it and, since they themselves have the ability to scry, the odds are good they’ll recognize it when it’s cast. We went back to my apartment and, amidst the wreckage, cast Detect Scrying and Permanency. Immediately, three scrying lights showed up around us. Two winked out immediately but a third persisted. With repeated efforts I was able to dispel it, but the caster of that one must be a serious mage. My pet theory, of course, is Alex but I’m not going to go around discussing that at length.

Dyson talked to the city guards and we went down to the morgue and identified the bodies of his friends: an elven wizard, some sort of elemental-hybrid monk and an elven druid. We asked the priests at the morgue to cast Speak with Dead so that Dyson could ask them if they wanted to come back; when they tried, the priests weren’t able to get anything to come back at all. A little magical investigation turned up a surprising bit of news: their spirits aren’t on the plane of the dead. Were they taken from there? We know the Ascendeds have traveled to it before with a Gate spell. Did they escape from it in some fit of confusion or something? Is one of the Powers involved in this keeping them from returning? I sent word to Berol to ask him to consult with his god as to the disposition of their souls and in the meantime paid a nominal fee to have their corpses magically preserved for later.

That done, we did the last of our magical shopping and then Dyson walked us out and down the city streets and into a back alley in a secluded street and showed us where the portal was that brought him to the foot of Featherbane Peak on the night the Ascendeds attacked him and his friends. It dropped us off not exactly at the mountain itself but a teleport got us there with minimal trouble. We spent that evening boxing crates of weapons into our shiny new portable holes and then made bunk for the night so that we could tackle the problem of the various elementals trapped in this place – and our deal with The Creature From Between The Planes – with fresh slates in the morning.

Dyson, Rock and I took turns on watch and it was on my watch, very early that morning, that I heard whispering from amongst the sleeping bags. Creeping over, I found that the Barderian was reading from a scroll. I kicked the scroll out of his hands and cried out to awaken the rest of the party; the Barderian himself blushed deeply and indignantly asked for some privacy. I asked what he was doing and he said he was casting a Sending. I asked why and he said because he was on a mission. We agreed to let him go into the hallway outside and do his thing, whatever it was, after our various tempers had subsided. Dyson crept out there and listened in and heard the Barderian reporting on his clanmate: “He didn’t make it on his own,” he said, and we then confirmed what we’d suspected: the Witches rule this place, and the Barderian was their spy to judge the capabilities of the clansman who wants to be Iron Lord. I apologized for my reaction, later; we’ve had a rough few weeks and it’s hard to trust anyone.

The next morning we made quick work of releasing the elementals who were still held prisoner. Upon returning to the factory wing we found that The Creature could move freely and had, true to his promise, released Trevor from his grip. We asked him if, before he left, he could tell us anything he might remember, answer a few questions, etc. He agreed, but I got the sense it wasn’t out of gratitude; not that he regretted his freedom but that a concept like gratitude is completely alien to a being like itself. I Alter Self‘ed into an elfy-elf of the Muad Ter’thalas style and The Creature said that yes, she remembered those beings, they were the ones it had followed from between the planes when it came to this world. “This was a place where they made things,” she said, “And they harnessed my power to Unmake so that they could shape their metals into other things.” I made myself into an approximation of The Fae’rath and it said yes, it remembered that one. “Be wary of that creature,” he said, “For he can Unmake, as I can, and also Make.” It told us that by the time the dragons attacked this site, all those many millenia ago, that the production of weapons had basically ceased. Our assumption now is that BOB used this as a honeytrap, a target of value in appearance only, meant to lure the dragons in where they would be contained and killable.

And with that, The Creature took its leave.

We teleported back to the top to find that the Ascendeds had erected a teleport barrier in an attempt to keep us here. We could teleport within it, however, so we jumped down to the base of the mountain, walked out, bid the locals a fond adieu and then teleported away, over a series of jumps, to Waterdeep to finalize our deal with the Untherians. They were pleasantly surprised to see us return so soon and asked where we had found weapons of such craftsmanship. Pleasant chuckles were exchanged all around at the thought we would reveal our source to them. “There might be more where these came from,” we told them as we cut a deal to sell them 2/3 of the total we had brought – knowing there were dozens, perhaps hundreds of times that remaining in the factory at Featherbane Peak – “But we can’t guarantee that and of course we can’t reveal their origin.” The Untherians didn’t put up much of a fight; they agreed to our terms and thus paid us enough to cover the costs of the portable holes – which are ours, and we keep in the deal – and come out with a tidy profit.

And to think, sometimes people scoff when we say we’re merchants.

They asked when we’d be able to deliver the goods and with a smile I replied, “Today, I expect; send word magically that we’ll be there this evening. It’s the only way you can beat us there.”

We also sold the Untherians a few sacks of the normal, common dragonscales Rock and the others and I had harvested from the ancient corpses trapped in the ice (who knew I’d have such a profitable use for Scorching Ray?) and we asked them for what purpose they wanted them. “Decoration,” they said. “The nobles and the army are quite fond of dragonscale decorations on their armor and in their homes, naturally.” We nodded that one off and took our leave, checking in on my landlord and then making preparations to depart. Trevor told Dyson he had some business to take care of in Waterdeep. “I’ll catch up somewhere along the way,” he said. “I always do.” They said their goodbyes and then the rest of us started teleporting down to one of my locations relatively near Unther. Adric cast a Wind Walk on all of us once we were within a few hours’ flight and the Tinker Trading Company once again took flight over pastoral lands we knew would soon give way to war and destruction – a war we were arming to preserve the villainous regime we know in the name of harming the one we most hate.

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