Roll for Salsa

It is an average day at Fiveleague House, if a bit slow. Barton wipes down glassware and hums to himself to pass the time. Talk of the Last Stand of Fallcrest has tapered off a bit in the month since Orcus was felled. A few scattered patrons rest their travel-weary feet or enjoy a drink before resuming their journeys.

The heavy oak door swings open and a slender elf woman enters the tavern. Mialee Woodsinger walks by in silence and sits at a corner table. Barton notices the sparkle in her violet eyes is dimmed and her usual friendly smile is gone. She looks as though she’s been fighting a hard battle within herself. Barton wonders what kind of hardship could extinguish the warmth he knew in Mialee, and why she was travelling alone. Roll For Salsa used to frequent Barton’s establishment and always appeared together.

A few moments pass, and the door is flung wide as another visitor arrives. Impeccably groomed and keeping a haughty posture, the eladrin pauses briefly to scan the tavern’s occupants. After spotting Mialee, Zedra Ivnaoth walks with an ever-so-slight swagger to the corner table, acknowledging Barton with a nod and a smile as he passes. Someone’s feeling pretty good about himself… Barton observes while watching Zedra take a seat next to Mialee. The pair greet one another in their native Elven.

A painfully slow hour ticks by. Barton looks up from reading his inventory reports when the familiar creak-thud of the door announces the presence of another customer. A statuesque Earth Genasi man takes in the layout of the room and though he is unfamiliar with the place, walks with solid sure strides. Barton does not recognize the man, and he would remember a Genasi if he’d ever seen one in person before. The man joins Zed and Mialee at the corner table and Barton overhears the name Ralts as the trio exchange salutations.

Afternoon’s light surrenders to evening and the early patrons have retired to their rooms, except the party at the corner table. A handful of locals sit around playing cards near the fireplace and a lone human sellsword downs ale after ale at the far side of the bar. A cool breeze whistles outside and scatters a few autumn leaves across the worn floorboards as soon as the door opens. The long curved horns and red complexion of a tiefling cause some uneasy whispering among the group by the fire. Gord moves past them to warm himself by the flames. Barton shakes his head in amusement as Gord leans into the hearth, resting his hands directly on one of the logs and allowing the fire to lap up around his face. Once satisfactorily warm, Gord turns to the corner table and pulls up a chair with the group.

The wind picks up and thunderheads blot out the moonlight filtering in through Fiveleague’s time-weathered windows. A flash of lightning and a bang of thunder seem to announce the bodies of a griffin and a dragonborn several yards distant. Both the beast and his rider are unusually marked with faintly glowing patterns. They begin to stir and both take a minute to look around. The dragonborn woman strokes her mount’s feathered head as she leaves him at the stable. Barton watches, curiosity piqued, as the black and purple clad dragonborn pushes though the door to the tavern. She reminds me of Kyrrox a bit, but older… I wonder if they’re related? Barton puzzles over the new patron as she weaves between tables to the corner.

Mialee has little to share with R4S regarding her month-long journey. She is visibly dispirited. Zedra had invited her to Astrazalian when they were all parting ways, but she had declined. When asked, she admits her acceptance of Rhyder’s right to make his own way in the world and that she no longer pursues him.

Zedra, however, gladly informs his companions that his trip home to the City of Starlight was both enjoyable and productive. Zed goes on to describe Dakyr being reinstated as heir of the House and enrolling in the Military Academy. Neither of Zedra’s parents are particularly happy about the practice of Blood Magic, but understand that he is more than capable. Zedra proudly recounts his meeting with the heads of the government and military to report on R4S encounter with Orcus. He concludes by announcing that he is now a field researcher with his alma mater and seen as somewhat of an ambassador of Astrazalian. The rest of R4S can’t help but notice Zed has had both his ego and his pretty-boy image recharged.

Ralts gives a succinct retelling of his travels with Ted, one of the more capable Guards from Fallcrest.
Nearly a week passed before I saw the opportunity for my journey. A large storm cumulated over the ancient Carngorn peaks and I was able to use my last remaining possession from The Elemental Chaos to pull myself and Ted into my home Plane. We traversed to The City of Brass, where I sought out the War Academy. Almost no record of my mission exists and the Marshal had no orders or further instructions to offer. Ted and I were allowed to stay in the barracks and participate in some drills during our stay. As a final request of the Genasi to whom I no longer felt any ties, I asked a few spellswords-in-training if they might create a portal back to the Nentir Vale so that Ted and I could return to our respective groups. Ted headed back to Fallcrest and I took the Trade Road to Fiveleague…
Ralts’ low, unwavering voice tapered off into a sigh as he concluded.

Gord’s month-long hiatus consisted of some relaxation time lounging in every fire he encountered (or created). In the northern woodlands, he learned to fish and spent the remainder of his time off as a fishmonger in a secluded town. Gord admits to keeping a low-profile. Without the protection afforded him with R4S, he was nagged with worry that the tiefling mafia out of his native Gashur would track him down. The rest of R4S are less than thrilled at this news.

The dragonborn woman affirms that she is in fact Kyrrox and goes on to describe her adventure.
Desiring to return to Sigil, Kyrrox hired a sorcerer to conjure a portal for her. She and Griffy eagerly leapt through the glimmering portal and landed in a desolate region of The Shadowfell. Kyrrox cursed herself for spending the last of her gold on a con-artist. She and her beloved griffin wandered aimlessly for a few hours, until they were intercepted by a Shadar-Kai scout team. Kyrrox’s own bravado amused and impressed the warriors. They agreed to bring her back to their settlement. What started as simple story-swapping and shows of skill turned into intensive training and integration with the tribe. Kyrrox has also embraced The Raven Queen as her deity of choice.
She informs R4S that she spent five years with the tribe, and that only with their superior ties to the Shadowfell’s warped passage of time was she able to return here and now. R4S look at her with a mix of disbelief and awe.

It is established that each of them wishes to continue as a united faction, but not here in the Vale. Ralts and Zedra reason that if there is any additional information about Orcus, it would be in New Nerath. The city is also a busy trade port for travelers of the world and R4S feel confident that they will be able to decide on a destination from there. A conclusion to their past and a waypoint to their future. The conversation then turns to reaching New Nerath. By road, they would pass through Fallcrest – Seylene’s turf. By boat, the journey is long and expensive.

The group mulls over their options as they head over to gear up with Mad Hamish. Gord cashes in his astral diamond and spends some gold on new armor. Ralts, too, makes some hefty purchases. Mialee refused her diamond as well as the vial of poison antidote from Seylene. She discreetly buys more of the medicine created by Dr. Wellbrew. As is common, chatting with Hamish turns to bargaining, and R4S is pleased to work out a deal to be flown to New Nerath. A week and a half of air-travel is spent recounting stories past and imagining what the future holds.

Mialee carefully avoids interacting with Huge, who meets the lack of attention with disappointment. She does seem to cast fond gazes his way when he is not looking, and still helps stock shelves as she always did. Zedra takes notes on the strange activity.

As the magic house descends towards the merchant district of New Nerath, Herman makes sure their former plot is clear. They land and Hamish thanks them for their business. He briefs them on the expected range of Herman’s Bell and wishes them well on their journeys. Mialee approaches Huge, kisses him, then runs outside. The party makes a stop at the library near the center of town. Ralts and Zed learn a bit more about the location of Orcus’ mind and his history in general. As the sun is setting, R4S find an inviting tavern called The Cat and Hydra, bustling with patrons of varying races.

Gord claims his spot in the fireplace and relaxes. Kyrrox sits at the bar and insists on a never-ending queue of shots. Gord rasies his hand and asks for a shot be tossed his way. The bartender shrugs, pours, and tosses the glass. Gord catches it with minimal spillage. The bartender tries to cut Kyrrox off, and she replies with cold precision. “If I cut off your head, will two assholes grow in its place?” She sneers and walks towards the rest of her companions.

Mialee sits at a table in a sparsely populated end of the room. Zed joins her after trying to order “some fancy-shmancy fey concoction” that makes the bartender roll his eyes. Zed sighs, pulls a flask from his jacket, and pours some Astrazalian moonflower tea for himself and Mialee. He asks about her unusual behavior regarding Huge and she tells him she is in love with Huge but fearful that she will hurt him. Mialee discloses how guilt-wracked she is for the knowledge that in saving a child, she made it possible for someone as twisted as Seylene to live. Zed nods and takes notes, apologizing at his inability to offer comfort or advice.

Ralts stands nearby, observing the new surroundings and speaking with various locals about the travel options from New Nerath. Kyrrox leans on the railing and takes in bits of the conversations around her. She hears Mialee speaking her woes about Huge and mutters “You should just fuck him.” in a matter-of-fact, almost dismissive tone.

Before retiring for the evening, R4S decide their next move will be a ferry ride across the Strait to The City of Waffalls in Tondriel. Rumors of the vast southern land of Urendi sound fascinating. It is said to be devoid of civilization and inhabited by beasts of unusual size. R4S move forward with open eyes and ears, for whatever may tug their collective desires.



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