Sorry for the delayed update! It’s been quite an exciting few days.
We were asked to stay put while the “investigators” did some investigating to corroborate what we had told them. We did NOT kidnap Zinlaz, but they were very skeptical. Dimli and I were placed in a room with some beds and a guard was placed in front, although we were told we were not prisoners. Yeah right! Sure felt like it. Decedu was allowed to accompany other healers in the temple to study some of the rare occurrences as of late and to help out where he could.
Time ticked on and on, while we waited in the room. We saw someone at the window, but before we could get a good look, they ran into the woods. We tried to go after him, but we were not fast enough. We noticed a note on the windowsill. He must have left it! I opened it up, and it was from the band of thieves that call themselves “The Shadows.” They said they had Loki, and they were angry that he tried to join them with his allegiance sword to the White Tree. They were insulted since they have pledged allegiance to the Sun. They demanded we meet them at noon with a reward to satisfy them.
We quickly put some pillows under blankets in case anyone check in on us, they would think we were resting. We made it out without anyone seeing us, and made our way to rescue Loki.
We approached the thieves and Dimli shouted out “Looks like an interesting party out here.” We saw that Loki was bound and gagged and my gut wrenched, hoping they did not harm him. The leader asked if he was ours, and Dimli told him that we knew him. He told us again how disgusted and upset they were that Loki would try to join them without supporting their candidate. They demanded we pay them 100 gold or something comparable for his return. Anger brewed inside me. Dimli told them that they should just give us our friend back. I yelled out to them that we didn’t have 100 gold, and demanded they hand over Loki. I asked them what are his crimes? They said he supported a different candidate. I can’t believe the nerve of these men! Dirty thieving men, think they can do whatever they please. I am accustomed to peaceful and kind men, not petty and repulsive men. I told them that was no reason to hold someone hostage, and they should release him immediately. They said that they will brand him, with the White Tree, and we can take him. I told them they were being unreasonable, and unjust. Loki had done no crime, and the punishment was too harsh for merely disagreeing on politics. People rely too heavily on politics and miss out on so much of life! This candidate or the other, causing so much animosity. It makes me sick. Anyway, Dimli jumped in and asked if there was some other arrangement that can be arranged. They looked him up and down and told him that they do enjoy a good boxing match. If he would be willing to fight one of their men and win, we could take Loki. Dimli is ALWAYS up for a good fight, which I just don’t understand. He put his fists up and bellowed “Which one of you lightweight scallywags is going to fight me!?” I rolled my eyes a bit at him. But I guess my reasoning had failed, and there was no other way so I left it alone. The fight did not last long, they underestimated the strength of Dimli. Unfortunately, the fight got a little out of hand and when his opponent ducked to the side, Dimli landed a large blow across Loki’s head. I watched his chest, and he was still breathing. The thieves seemed to be pleased with the fight, and they threw Loki at us and left.
We carried Loki back and made it back through the window without being spotted. We let him rest on the bed. Someone came in and took us to Lt. Gray’s office to speak with him. He told us our story checked out (like that was a surprise). He asked for our help to accompany him and a few of his men to a place they believe the cult is gather at, and attacking from. He said we would leave in the morning, so we were free to do as we pleased that evening; the guard was removed from in front of our quarters. We decided to try to make some money in town.
There was a wedding that evening that was in need of some fireworks. I do love casting Illusions! It would be perfect. The wedding was beautiful, and I had a great time with everyone. I think I had a few too many drinks before the fireworks show, so although they started out spectacularly (as usual) they fizzled out at the end. Luckily the beginning wowed them enough, and not too many people noticed the ending, that they still paid me and let me enjoy the rest of the evening!
When I walked into the room upon my return, I saw that Loki was awake. I also saw the most peculiar thing! A WOLF. A big, huge, wolf. I screamed, and Veverka screeched and ran from her perch on my shoulder to hide under my cloak. I saw that the Wolf was injured, and Dimli explained he had tamed it and it was his pet now. Loki asked why his head hurt so much, and while Dimli tried to lie to him, I told him the truth. He was upset at Dimli, but thankful for us rescuing him. He was also upset at Dimli for bringing in an injured wolf, but he was getting really woozy again. We told him to rest here at the hospital, and we would go in the morning to find Zinlaz at the cult’s secret base, and we would be back for him.
We flew in the airship to the spot they found. It looked like ancient ruins of a former fortress, but we all knew this MUST be an illusion, although a very powerful one. I tried to see through the illusion, but was not successful. I was very frustrated with myself; now we would have to go in blind. Lt. Gray had some purple robes the cultists wear on the ship that he had recovered from previous dealings with them. He didn’t want us to go in, but knew being disguised would help. We were so desperate to find the potential reliquary, we didn’t really think much. We grabbed the robes and head straight in!
The guards at the gate stopped us, and asked about the ship. I told them all were dead in the ship. He thought that meant WE had killed them, and thanked us for their service. I was ready to explain that it looked like a sky bear attack! I knew the quickest way to Zinlaz would be through their leader. I cast an illusion of a letter to their leader to secure a meeting with him. I didn’t want to have to fight our way in and out, so I was quick on my feet to develop a plan to get us to Zinlaz!
They took us to Legeldur, their leader, and I had to work really hard to convince him of the letters authenticity. He believed me, and let the five of us take over guard duties over the prisoners. We were so close!
Dimli broke the locks on all the cells, and after some reassuring we were there to help and not hurt, the 5 prisoners finally believed us after Dimli knocked out the guard outside of the dungeon. We used pieces of the guard’s robe to cover the prisoners to make it less conspicuous. I really am clever sometimes! We had Zinlaz with us, and a few other children. What could they have wanted with so many?
We had to think quickly of a way out. There was a sewer nearby, but we had to get to the ship fast before we were discovered, and that led the opposite way. I tried to conjure an illusion of an army of bears attacking the base from the north. It wasn’t successful. I came out of the dungeon and tried again, and it was mildly successful. Enough to catch some attention, so we made a run towards the front gate. Darting around buildings and tents, trying to be seen. We each had a child with us making our way toward the gate. I tried to strengthen the illusion, and success! They sounded the alarm. “Bears to the north!” they yelled. I smirked; bears are always a good choice.
We made it to the ship! We had Zinlaz! We were safe.