The Water Margin

Stalking the Sky

City-State of Nibenay, 190th King’s Age, Year of Desert’s Slumber, Month of Wind, Day 30

Melmoth the Merciless
Tikka Greenteeth

With the final night of the lunar festival rapidly approaching, the adventurers have all of their plans in place.

Swikt, assistant diviner of House Shom, has agreed to accept a bribe in order to go to House Norihirwat and convince them that he has foreseen three great troubles that will befall them on this night: An altercation with a half-giant at the gates, a mysterious murder due to a shadow over the house, and an explosion among the foodstuffs. With House Norihirwat convinced that they know what will happen, they will lack their guard against the true plans of the infiltrators.

The team sets it plan in motion as the afternoon wears on. Melmoth loiters drunkenly near the front gates, to start a disturbance when night falls. Arlianothas waits at a nearby building, ready to take wing once the opportunity arises to draw the guards’ attention. Tikka prepares to sneak in and use elemental spells to create chaos in the kitchen.

As the party grows in size and fervor, the plans take off without a hitch. Melmoth’s drunken antics distract the guards at the gate, several of whom decide to drink with the half-giant, simply to avoid angering him. Arlianothas flies overhead, creating a noticeable silhouette that causes confusion below, as Kirlat and Mouse wait for their chance. Mouse manages to clamber part way up the back outer wall, then uses his psionic talent to dimension hop the rest of the way across — bypassing the canvas sheeting on poles designed to hinder climbers, and avoiding a potentially injurious drop on the far side. He sneaks into the house and helps Tikka in, and the two manage to head to one of the large sitting rooms and leave a poorly-hidden bag of spell components behind. From there Tikka returns to hide in the kitchen and casts a sound burst that detonates a large watermelon on the table of rare fruits and delectables outside in the garden. The sudden explosion causes panic and guards run to see what is happening while guests shriek and flee the garden. One woman, a regal templar-wife, immediately takes command of several guards and begins examining the area for traces of magic.

Inside the house, Tikka and Mouse discover that their hiding place is less than optimal, as guards move to the doorway that they were looking through (the servants’ door leading from the kitchen to the garden) and block it. With no other way out and the guard captain ordering a search of the premises, the two sneak their way to the kitchen cellar stairs and head down. Below, they manage to sneak through the cellar proper and discover an exit to the street out back — but they also find a secret door leading to a research laboratory full of alchemical equipment and magical devices! Mouse swipes some of the valuable paraphernalia, then the two hide again as they hear voices. A pair of nobles enter the chamber, arguing in whispered tones about what they are going to do: Their argument reveals that they are members of the Veiled Alliance, and they are planning a show of magical power to undermine the rule of Nibenay!

Bigger Problems

Meanwhile, upstairs, a large coach leaves the Naggarammakam. Nibenay, the sorcerer-king, has decided that on this night of all nights he shall tour the city and visit the estates of his noble vassals.

The carriage makes its way across several streets, and Nibenay and several of his wives visit each festival in turn. The nobles cower and quake as the tall, regal sorcerer-king glances at their petty estates and yawns in boredom. Safely on a perch several blocks away, Arlianothas sees the danger coming, and alerts Kirlat through his mindlink. He spreads the message to the other members of the team, and realizes that Mouse and Tikka are trapped in the cellar, because the door is stuck! He rushes to the back alleyway and forces the door open so that the pair can escape.

Nibenay’s coach rolls on and finally the sorcerer-king arrives at the festivities. He disembarks and, in concert with his wives, he arrives and receives the fear and adulation of his subjects. The templar-wife investigating the exploding watermelon explains that someone attempted to disrupt the festival with magic; Nibenay frowns and orders a search, just as the two noble preservers arrive from downstairs. Spotting Nibenay, they freeze in place, but the gig is up: The templars and guards are already alerted, looking for suspicious people and searching for magical auras. Nibenay strolls over to the two and a brief argument ensures — the woman heatedly shouting that his reign will finally end when the people know that he cannot afford to kill them all. She defiantly casts a spell at him, and the plants in the garden shiver momentarily but do not die. The magic missiles bounce off of Nibenay’s omnipresent protection, and he leans in and whispers a single word. The entire garden withers and turns to ash as she suddenly falls over, dead.

Bored now, Nibenay strolls over to fraternize with some visitors from abroad in order to gather news, while the templar-wives start ordering a clean-up of the premises. The group quickly flees the area in order to regroup far, far away from the disaster — although their mission is accomplished.

In the distance, only a few lamplights flicker in the Naggarammakam, where Tikka’s ancestral spirit-bowl is secreted away in the chambers of a templar who is likely out for the evening in the entourage of her king.



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