Storms over Kelerak, Part III - Page 3 - Myth-Weavers

Storms over Kelerak, Part III

Absolutely, and I think that’s perfect. It’s an important role.

When she was satisfied there was no more that could be done, at least not by her, Isolde took a step back and admired her handiwork. If she was honest with herself, the expression on Aidan`s face alone was more than worth the time and effort spent adjusting the item for his use. Coupled with the fact that the ridiculous hat only appeared even more idiotic now than it had before...well, she could hardly be blamed for laughing quite so long and loud, could she?

"At the same time I can believe and cannot believe you kept this," Aidan said, in one of the most emotionless voices they had ever heard from him. "Von Lanburg and I have to fight off a personal army, Brokk nearly dies draining a necrotic artifact of its power, Embla suffers through a derro`s lechery, and you! You get to steal a magic hat."

"Hardly going to leave something like that just lying there!" she retorted. "Ugly as it is, magic is magic, and magic is valuable. And Brokk was too busy to tell me no, so...besides, it works. You look, well, you look like a real dulam."

The half-elf flinched unconsciously, hating the very word. Still, it was true. Though the magic of the hat clearly did not extend to itself, it had altered his appearance so that he seemed to be one of the dark elves, and as much as it pained him to adopt such a disguise, it was necessary for the plan that had been devised. It was a plan that had undergone many revisions since leaving Dragonspur, but the group were confident they could improve upon it no further.

None of them had reacted particularly well when they were told what was expected of them. Even Brokk had had some harsh words for Burcan the White upon learning that all of this had been part of his plan to avoid, or at least delay, civil war in Kelerak. However, they had reluctantly agreed to go along with it when the priest had made it abundantly clear that Kelerak would tear itself apart if they did not at least try.

Then the fun part had started: working out just how to accomplish their mission, and liberate a deathless baron from one of the most infamous and powerful liches on the continent. An assault on Dessingrove was out of the question. Stealth had been a favoured option, until Embla had simply stood up, and by her sheer size argued very convincingly that such a tactic would be unlikely to succeed.

However, she had then offered up one part of the possible solution: "Aidan, when you first came back from the memories of the dead, you spoke a new language. Can you still speak it?"

It turned out, much to the paladin`s disgust, that the understanding of the Dark Speech imparted by the memories of Tamarrik the Reaver had been seared into his mind. For some time he had shied away from admitting it, even to himself, loathing the very idea of speaking that vile language, but when Isolde had revealed that she had looted a Hat of Disguising from an enemy they had faced months earlier in Arden, the next part of the plan had made itself clear to them.

Since then, Aidan had been reluctantly practising to give himself a Mordularian accent in the Dark Speech, so that whilst wearing it, he could present himself as a drow. The real difficulty came from not being familiar enough with what Mordularian sounded like to know what sort of accent to adopt, and even Isolde, who had been apprenticed to a half-drow back in Zel City, had never heard it spoken in conversation. Still, the pair worked on it until they were satisfied, whilst the other two members of the party worked on their own scheme.

Early on, it had become clear that there was no way they could effectively hide Embla, even if they forwent any other kind of stealth. So, a little hesitantly, Brokk had devised the notion of portraying her as a mobility slave, a mount to be ridden upon in the manner of the hulking beasts of the deep underground by troglodytes and their kin. A full palanquin was not reasonable, but perhaps a simple platform upon which the controlling wizard - in other words, his own relatively light self - might sit imposingly or stand threateningly as the need arose?

To everyone`s surprise, Embla agreed at once. She had even seemed excited by the prospect of carrying Brokk around in that way, which had confused them even further, but the reasons why were allowed to remain mysterious for the time being. It was still too soon after the slaughter at the Eaglesreach for them to be entirely comfortable around her, knowing what they now did, and prying into her past and beliefs was simply too dangerous when on such an important mission.

The only major flaw in their plan, when all was said and done, was Isolde. The hat`s magic could make Aidan seem drow, Embla was more than capable of appearing a mindless brute, and Brokk`s withered body made him seem less true dwarf and more duergar or derro...but there was no disguising that Isolde was a halfling. At least not, as Brokk explained glumly, without wrapping her in the same kind of illusory magic as would be shielding Aidan, and would probably stand out as a concerning quantity of active magical energy to any watchful spell-wards at their destination.

"One man with drawn sword and whetstone may simply be a weapons-conscientious warrior," he had said. "A dozen of the same are clearly hiding something. If I hide Isolde behind more illusions, we run the risk of something noticing we are hiding something behind illusions. But she did convince the traitor Siegfried of Arden that she was an agent of the East. I have faith that she can convince the lich`s minions that she is much the same."

Aidan and Embla echoed this sentiment. No less reluctantly than Aidan had practised his unpleasant knowledge of the Dark Speech, Isolde practised the mannerisms of the servants of Sin. As a former gutter runner of Zel City, slipping unnoticed through the filth of street and society alike, she had had plenty of opportunities to observe the cruel masters of the Occupied Kingdoms. It went about as well as Aidan`s linguistics, but there were no other practical choices.

All that remained now was to wait until dusk and make their next move.

Oh boy, this “plan” has me scared... lol.


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