Our conversation with Bargle continues, as Ozzy takes a more forceful tone. Bargle tells us that Grishenka was captured whilst travelling alone on the road and that she is to be taken back to the seat of the Black Eagle Barony where she will receive a “fair trial” for crimes against the state of Karameikos. We recognise this charge as something of a legal ‘fix’ to be able to bring someone to trial without pressing specific charges, and are doubtful about the explanation that the hag was captured alone and on the road, instead wondering if she was working with or for Bargle and was imprisoned by him after bringing the Eye of Frost to him..?
Tol detects Zzonga in Grishenka’s water drug – a soporific that he assumes is being used to drug her sufficiently so the hag is incapable of casting any spells.
As Memnon and Morghash exchange dark looks and pointed comments, we shift the conversation over to these ‘rocks of power’ that Bargle speaks of. He ridicules us, saying he knows we know about the Eyes of Traldar and knows full well that we have, or have had, some in our possession – he can sense it. The negotiations look set to come to a close if we carry on protesting total ignorance, so we give Bargle some acknowledgement of our historical knowledge of the Eyes and that yes, we have encountered at least one (sticking to Ozzy’s plan only to reference our recent escapades and not those within the Blight Swamp ).This seems to placate him, and we do our best to let the Infamous One do the talking.
Bargle informs us he obtained the Eye of Frost from Grishenka, that he suspects she got it from beings in the mountains and that there is indeed a direct link between it and the recent cold winters. After all, the Hags wish to “rid the land of civilisation so that they can replace it with whatever their masters (whomever they serve) want”.
At this point a messenger arrives, and passes news to Bargle (about something, or one, having come back) which provokes him to such anger he slays the unfortunate man on the spot with a magic missile. As we look at each other and collect our composure, Bargle continues to talk about the Eyes, although we soon discover he speaks only in vague terms and that practically, he seems to be learning as much from us as we are from him.
In summary, we learn/confirm that:
• There are 14 Eyes, all paired i.e. Life/Death, Stone/Water
• The eyes can be “closed” although a matching pair are required to achieve this
• It is a dangerous thing to have a matching pair of Eyes in your possession
• ‘Closure’ seems to imply, rather than the destruction of the eyes in question, that they are somehow nullified. As Bargle spouts “If the nature of the Eyes is corrupted, if they are closed, then everything; all the good they’ve done, will be undone.”
Memnon asks if the Hags serve Orcus. Morghash actually looks uncomfortable for a moment, muttering how not all of Orcus’ followers “march to the same drum”. We assume the answer to therefore be yes.
Bargle becomes increasingly irritated with our inability /unwillingness to divulge any further information and begins to insist that we stay as guests, to accompany him to Fort Doom to testify at Grishenka’s trial. We infer this means we’re going, like it or not. Memnon moves to the body of the slain messenger and says a few words as last rites (with the intention of moving closer to the tent’s entrance in order to lead our departure). Morghash accompanies Memnon, watches respectfully and advises Memnon to not fight his heritage, that he will find it easier to accept his destiny, which is within him. Ignoring the warlock, Memnon stands and moves to the tent’s exit. Two guards block his path, but the intensity of his glare results in one stepping aside. Bargle is enraged, slays the guard with a magic missile and screams that the prisoners are not to be allowed to leave. Memnon finds himself dominated by Bargle, and if forced to walk back over to him and prostrate himself at his feet. Ozzy asks for calm, assisted by Tol Flemin, who casually pours another glass of wine suggesting we all pause for a moment and enjoy another drink…
Potential conflict is averted by the breathless arrival of a second messenger, who asks that Bargle view the situation outside. Morghash leaves the tent to see what is occurring and quickly returns, agreeing that Bargle needs to see this. Cursing, Bargle strides outside. As if from far away, we hear raised voices, noting Bargle sounds particularly unhappy. A woman’s voice speaks of a warrant signed by her Uncle. The woman in question then enters the tent – none other than Lady Elena Halloran – The ‘Armoured Flower’, in her full Knight of the Griffon regalia. We are told that we are under arrest and are to be taken to Threshold. Several other Knights enter and begin clapping us in irons, taking us outside. Memnon, finding himself free from Bargle’s influence, puts up a show of resistance but is taken to the ground by the Lady Halloran with the point of her sword at his throat.
No less than five fully armoured Knights accompany Lady Elena, each with a Griffon mount. There is also another man, who from his robes appears to be a magic user. As we are bundled onto the waiting Griffons, Bargle vents his anger at Elena, threatening her should she ever set foot in his encampment again and reminding her of what happened the last time they met. We are soon airborne and after hurried conversation are relieved to discover our arrest is indeed a cover for Lady Elena to get us to safety. Whilst in flight, we are joined by a black hawk, which settles on the wizard’s shoulder. (The same creature we saw following us earlier).
Once out of sight of Bargle’s camp, we land and retrieve our comrades. Elena explains that the Wizard, introduced as Garon, had been using his hawk to watch over us. Once it was realised that we had entered Bargle’s camp, our possible defeat and capture was anticipated and this rescue plan quickly put into effect. We express our gratitude and quickly agree a plan. Tol Flemin uses animal messenger to send a single mount back to Eltan’s Spring to seek out Memnon’s mother and father Gorgo and Mortenos, explaining that the other mounts will be following and asking for them to be cared for as long as possible. (we also arrange for some gold from party treasure, amount TBC, to be sent to them to cover the expenses). If we are unable to retrieve them before they become a burden, then they are to be set free to have the best chance they have in the wild.
Concerned that Bargle will be decamping as soon as he can and following us with his men in an attempt to obtain the Eyes of Traldar that we possess, we agree to return to Threshold with Lady Elena, to seek sanctuary over night and plan anew for the next day. After a three hour flight, we land in the castle of Baron Halloran and follow the Armoured Flower across the snowy courtyard, lit by warm light spilling from the surrounding windows. Food and mulled wine is brought for us as we talk with Lady Elena. Memnon asks what transpired between her and Bargle, to which she flatly replies that Bargle killed her. Her Uncle brought her back from the dead, an act which Elena can now herself perform and would be willing to teach Memnon this very night! The Tiefling cleric eagerly agrees.
Conversation turns to how and where we shall move on from here. Elena suggests we may wish to discuss this with an old acquaintance and in walks Fyodor! He looks a little older, perhaps wiser, despite it only being a matter of weeks since he mysteriously vanished in the Blight Swamp and is clad in simple clothing, with a partially constructed harp. Our immediate concerns are allayed by Ozzy’s ‘hag vision‘ revealing no deceit on Fyodor’s’ behalf and him being able to answer question to which only he would surely know the answer. Fyodor explains that he used the tune taught by the seer to transport himself out of danger and that the dryad (which was gaining a form of control over him, causing him to disrobe…!) was transported with him, although she reverted to a water state and flowed away upon arrival. Fyodor sought out the seer, quickly finding and being taken in by him.
The Seer cared for and tutored Fyodor (via discreet questions, Tol Flemin ascertains that Fyodor is now effectively a Watcher) although told him on several occasions that was not yet ready to travel to the Isle of Lost Dreams itself. News from Fyodor of our adventures relating to the Eyes and Hags since we last met caused the Seer concern and he travelled to meet someone on the Isle of Lost Dreams. He didn’t return. Leaving the Eye of Death secure in the Seer’s hut, Fyodor travelled to Threshold by Pegasus and met with Lady Elena in an attempt to locate us, a meeting which ultimately led to our timely rescue.
Fyodor explains that he has the ability to transport us all in search of the seer. We agree to set out the next day, after resting for the night and allowing time for Memnon to learn how to raise the dead. An ability we all hope he will not have to use anytime soon…