21/09/11: A Brawl and a Dimensional Slinker

21/09/11: A Brawl and a Dimensional Slinker

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The Zatis have several new challenges to overcome.

Score 1849

03/23/24

character starting status:

  • Kasma: ac=15; hp=8/8; 2xlv1
  • Crux: ac=17; hp=13/13; ex=1; [HD: 0/1]; second wind
  • Odin: ac=16; hp=9/9; ex=2; [HD: 0/1]; 1xlv1
  • Wen Mei: ac=18; hp=13/13; ex=1; [HD: 0/1]; 5/5 paladin healing
  • Jordian: ac=14; hp=9/9; [HD: 1/1]; 1xlv1; disadvantage 1 hour due to drink
  • Astenza: ac=14; hp=8/18; ex=2

Crux heads back to the wrestling area, with his father and mother, while the rest of the party continue on to the tent of veils.

tent of veils

 The large, colorful tent that is the Tent of Veils is about 40 feet in diameter and shimmers almost as if it were made of thousands of gossamer scarfs. A bright pennant on the top of the tent pole flits in the light breeze. Townsfolk are already entering in to watch the next performance. Standing just outside the open tent entrance is Mavea, resplendent in her traditional hanataz spelldancer’s costume. Her red hair shines in the afternoon light as she smiles at you and waves as she is checking tokens.

seer's tent

In front of you is the pink, rune- and star-covered tent where Mother Salvensa uses the sight to read the fortunes of the townies that come to visit the Carnivalle. As you look, you see a wide eyed young farmhand exit the seeress’s tent. He seems to be staring off into space while muttering to himself under his breath. He is followed several moments later by Mother Salvensa. Her face lights up with a genuine smile when she sees you. She eagerly waves you over, ignoring the line of hopeful and nervous locals that stand outside the entrance to her tent.

“My frenta! How goes de day? If Borag can spare ye’ for a moment, I have a favor to ask of ye’.”

Her voice drops to a friendly and conspiratorial whisper as you come close. “As you know, Jinxx grants me de sight, an just a bit ago I seen da vision of a dark ting in da voods. I also seen dat dere be some who deal in death at de carnivalle today. I tink you need to keep yer eyes open. Some vill try to spill blood today… But, my children, dat is not de only problem dat you can help me vit…”

She lowers her voice even further and looks over your shoulders back towards Stoof ’s tent. “Over der”… she points at a group of acolytes… “dem figured demselves better diviners dan ol’ Salvensa. Dey didn’t like vat I saw, and dey wouldn’t pay; please go collect vat dey owe… an perhaps a bit more for da trouble. An, dey don’t need to know der debt’s been paid. Fer those of you wit da sticky fingers… dis should be no problem; yes?

The group of five acolytes are made up of three men and two women. They follow Mystos, the secret lord, god of mysteries, magic mastery, prophecy, and the unknown. Patron of magic users, prophets, and fortune tellers. His symbol is a crystal ball over crossed wands.  The shorter of the two females, with long blonde hair, appears to be the leader.

The party no more than prepares to deal with this, than an angry crowd approaches:

Suddenly, a brawny local woman in a leather apron, followed by half a dozen other angry locals, approaches. She stomps to the front of the line and points a finger at Mother Salvensa… yelling at her loudly, so everyone in line can hear her. “This old crone is a charlatan and a fraud! She spins webs of guesses and lies to dupe honest folks. Don’t waste your hard-earned coin just to hear her babble nonsense at you!”

Rather than rising to the bait, you see Mother Salvensa’s eyes start to cloud over. You have seen this happen before… usually before the sight reveals something of importance to her. She silently stands before her accusers like a rigid statue.

Odin and Jordain attempt to talk Onna down. She is furious that her husband has repeatedly paid to have his fortune read, and that he interprets Mother Salvensa’s words to mean he should abandon his current life as a blacksmith, with Onna, to become a traveling bard, which will win him the affection of beautiful women. Then Odin moves to mocking her.

Mother Salvensa begins to speak and all but Kasma simply hear garbled words. Kasma hears Mother Salvensa's vision. Everyone disperses after the strange babbling and the acolytes are no where to be seen.

Mother Salvensa, oblivious to what she may have said, as is normal when she is in the thrall of the sight. "Tank you again, dear frenta. I find myself feeling most weary. Don’t worry about me, I just need to sit…” She forces a weak smile that isn’t entirely convincing, “Off wit you now. Borag needs ye’ to be keepin’ an open eye for vatever would trouble de troupe.

Kasma checks on her, but the seer is tired and lies down, wanting a little time to rest.

puppet show

Behind the Tall Tent, and across from Seller’s Row, sits a large orange and gold booth with red curtains drawn across the front and sides. Its wooden façade is carved and painted to look much like the tents of the Blue Veil. Th e grass is flattened all around it, and you fi nd some of your fellow frenta here. They look tired as they attempt to keep the yunstas corralled in this area and out of too much trouble. It seems they recently made a trip to Frenne’s stand for some treats – judging by Strend and Kleista fencing with empty kobab sticks nearby. Occasionally, the two call for a time-out to take another bite from the half-eaten skewers in their other hands before resuming the duel.

Vezzy runs by with a bag of candied nuts in hand, followed by a teary-eyed Jovessa who struggles to keep up with her; Jovessa sniffles and squeaks out a magical phrase. The bag is tugged out of Vezzy’s grip by an invisible force and returns to a surly Jovessa  who sticks her tongue out and blows raspberries at the other girl. The young girl Creeda sits expectantly in front of the booth, humming to herself and happily chewing on a warm pastry. Jannig, Borag and Calnassé’s youngest child, is shadow-boxing with the side-wall of the puppet show. And Trom and Trem are running circles around their chaperones… but peel off to stand proudly before you.

The curtains pull back on the booth and a music box; the tiny stage plays a garbled but jaunty tune. The yunstas all abandon their current activities to go watch as they are joined by several local children that run over to see the puppet show as well. A sheet with a hanataz caravan roughly painted on it rises behind the booth, and several stuffed cloth dolls held up on wooden sticks rise up to begin the tale.

The oddly colored puppets – all dressed in distinctly hanataz attire – bumble about, bumping into each other, dropping things, and making silly noises to the delight of the children. Yet, as they fool about, dark figures appear at the edges of the booth. Though fashioned in the same innocuous style as the others, there is something sinister about the puppets, and the children cry out in warning to the hanataz dolls.

As the dark puppets move in to attack, another shadowy figure emerges amongst the hanataz, yet this one has a smirking and colorful mask and a hat sporting silver bells. The mischievous new doll darts back and forth, out-matching the dark figures single-handedly, before driving them off entirely. The children cheer and the puppet bows before slipping away, leaving the joyous hanataz dolls to wiggle and dance in victory.

Yet, strangely, as the curtains slowly draw closed, the sticks holding many of the puppets aloft inexplicably snap, sending the dolls tumbling into the crowd of children. Only a handful of the puppets remain upright, and as you catch a final glimpse, those final few remaining figures look oddly familiar… almost like crude representations of you, the zati

seller's row

seller’s row stands before you. It is a riotous cacophony of color and noise. Here various members of the troupe sell unique trinkets and goods – that they’ve made in their spare time – from the windows of their wagons. There are scarves and bead necklaces, woven rugs, and beautiful embroidered blankets. There are even small bottles of Stoof’s rather famous cherry cordial.

But they are not alone. In most carnivalles, local folks also set up stands in this area to create a lane that is solely for shopping. Between the hanataz and locals, there is a surprisingly diverse array of items for sale. You know that if you wanted something, you could procure it from your fellow hanataz at any time… but you could also “take a moment or two” to peruse the offerings in the locals’ booths as you pass through.

The party finds the following tents are the peruse the stalls:

  • Two dwarven glassblowers named Teandra and Dergal. The glassblowers offer glass birds, fine bottles, sturdy jugs, mugs, a variety of eye-wear, and window-panes.
  • A gnome jeweler named Berzitz Bendlebane. Berzitz has a wide variety of relatively low-quality and low-cost jewelry
    items, including rings, piercings, necklaces, broaches, and torcs… wrought from gold, silver, bronze, and other valuable
    metals. Some are set with gemstones and pearls.
  • Two halfling toymakers named Snoogan Sonderboffin and Lenda Sonderboffin. Toy, game, and joke shops are surprisingly common and earn a brisk business in Verdestia since they can entertain children and adults alike. From remote villages to the streets of an overcrowded metropolis, a board game or clever magic practical joke can bring some joy to a hard and often dangerous existence. The toymaker has wooden knights, dolls of elegant noble ladies, and cute, plush versions of different monsters like dragons, basilisks, and owlbears. He has bins of wooden swords and shields, along with brightly painted tables and chairs that are the perfect size for kids.
  • A human blacksmith named Onna (the party encountered her outside of Mother Salvensa’s tent). The smith is gruff to the point of being rude, and obviously not a fan of the hanataz. Nevertheless, she is professional enough not to let it interfere with business. She has many items that will be of little interest to the players, such as hinges, fire grates, door handles, nails, and numerous tools that are both basic and specialized. She also has a number of weapons and pieces of armor for sale. The armor she has available includes a set of studded leather, a set of ring mail, and two shields. The weapons include half a dozen daggers, four spears, and a warhammer. However, the items she displays most proudly are a Seric Iron War Pick, a Seric Iron Battleaxe, and a Seric Iron Longsword; all are masterfully forged.
  • A human alchemist named Leana Vissid. Leana is comparatively friendly. Most of what she has for sale are herbs and ingredients she’s grown or collected, but she does have a few potions available.

beast wagons

Passing behind the Tall Tent, you see the heavy iron bars of the large wagon-pens that house Tranoov and Meega, Selvra’s owlbear and manticore. Expertly trained, their growls and roars are perfectly timed and echo out from the main tent through the entire camp to terrify and delight the crowds who have gathered to watch them perform impressive feats. As you pass by, you see Selvra leading them back to their cages for a break, which they enter willingly. There they begin chewing on large haunches of raw meat that are waiting for them. Several young, wide-eyed children, a few adults, and a trio of dwarven folk watch Tranoov the manticore in awe.

Even with as many times as you’ve seen the two beasts perform, you can hardly help but be impressed by them yourself. As you watch them voraciously dig into their meals, Selvra approaches with a favor to ask.

“Some of the local brats have been playing near the cages for those boars we caught to feed Tranoov and Meega. They keep poking them and getting them riled up. Could you please get the little hellions moving along somewhere else? I can’t deal with them and everything else right now.”

Behind the row of carts toward the smaller pens used to hold the game needed to feed Tranoov and Meega’s monstrous
appetites. Sure enough, several mischievous boys and girls, known to you from previous days’ carnivalles, as the Dragon Puncher Crew, are cruelly poking at the angry swine with sticks and teasing them with scraps of food that are pulled away at the last moment. Harold, an older boy who serves as one of the rabble-rousers of the group, has a wicked grin on his face and is incessantly throwing rocks at a large, grizzled boar. You can clearly see the harassment is whipping the creature into a frothing rage. The children run off as you approach, but this does not pacify the old boar who charges into the fence with his deadly tusks. A resounding *crack* splits the air as the raging hog pushes through the cross beams, leaving a gaping hole that the entire herd storms through.

As the boars begin to break out the party engages them, defending the children, and keeping the boars from running amok. Creative use of the mending cantrip stops the last of the boars from getting out. Prestidigitation and others are used to effect.

Selvra is very thankful of the arrival of the zatis, giving them each 2gp for their help.

Thank Jinxx you passed by when you did… it would have been a catastrophe if those things rampaged through the carnivalle!

Here, help me throw these carcasses to Tranoov and Meega; it’s getting towards their suppertime anyway. I’ll have someone take the rest to Sunessy and Frenne to cook up; I always was partial to roast boar. And zatis, here is a little spending money for your most excellently timed assistance.”

the stage and the old oak

South and west of the tall tent, a great, old oak rises up from the field; its thick branches spreading wide above your heads. Directly in front of the gnarled giant is a wooden stage that is set up for performances of poetry, song, and dance. When not captivating audiences in the tent of the veils or during one of the high mystiques in the tall tent, Elnass, Saevra, and Mavea may often be found here.

But others perform here as well.

Currently, the two bards – Greyson and Grelda – stand atop the stage playing lute and pipe for a rather large crowd. With them are Deranaye and Taelsa, two of the troupe’s younger spelldancers who are still learning the magical dances of your people.

You arrive as their enrapturing performance comes to a close. Claps and cheers erupt from the packed area around the stage. Through the applause, however, you hear a series of crude, slurred shouts from the front row.

“Encore! Encore. Hey! Do another one! Hey shizzat!” You see the dancers and bards visibly frown at the use of the unfriendly word.

“Make the pretty dancers do another one and tell them to show some skin this time! Encore!”

The performers turn to file off the back of the stage as the irritated shouts continue, “Hey, why aren’t you listening to me! What, you think you’re too good for me?” One belligerent man stands up and angrily points his finger at the dancers, “These traveling whores’ll do anything for a shiny silv! Get dancing wenches!

The zatis begin slipping into the crowd, preparing for things to get worse.

You are edging your way through the crowd to remove the obnoxious drunkard, but his harassment continues. As you
near the man, he pulls himself up onto the stage. Greyson and Grelda step forward to move between the drunk man and the two young women while Taelsa and Deranaye give you nervous looks. Unlike the senior Elnass or Mavea, who could use their magicks to easily deal with this lout, the two apprentice spelldancers are still mastering their crafts.

Things escalate quickly and before they know if, eight people, including two women, are brawling with the zatis.

As the melee spreads across the stage and the song rings out in accompaniment, the young spelldancers muster their courage and return, joining in the opportunity to put their skills to use on the scoundrels that called them shizzats, wenches, and worse. With amazing finesse, they playfully weave their way through the chaos of the brawl, making the entire affair appear as though it was just another act. As they whirl and weave across the stage, the drunkards are left distracted and bemused, leaving openings for you to strike. As the fight progresses, you almost feel your own punches and blocks falling into a rhythm set by the music and dance, a complex yet wordless harmony driving you to fight with unprecedented coordination.

A few of the onlookers are shouting their displeasure at your treatment of their fellow townsfolk, but most are treating the on-stage brawl as another attraction, cheering you on from all around. The patrons of the wrestling ring on the other side of the tall tent have moved to the stage to get a better look and are hastily placing wagers and excitedly whooping each time a fist connects with its target.

As the donny brook is underway, the bards play the jingle-jangle-joo jig

 The last of the rowdy locals collapses to the floor of the stage with a heavy thud. The crowd erupts in cheers at the impressive display, and some even begin to toss coins up onto the platform.

The dancers curtsy, Greyson makes a deep bow with a flourish of his hat, and Grelda waves to the applauding mass. Then, they turn and thank you – and encourage you to bow as well. Deranaye and Taelsa give hugs all around, while Greyson and Grelda waste no time in gathering up the coins that had been thrown onto the stage during the brawl.

 

 Grelda beams from ear to ear as she drops the last coin into your waiting palm, “Thank you, my friends! Borag is right to call you zatis!” Her smile fades slightly, “It seems like there’s at least one of these brawls that happens every carnivalle and usually it’s a choice between letting our daughters endure unwanted groping or pissing off the locals and getting run out of town empty-handed… I’m glad we were able to make a good performance out of it this time.”
Greyson steps up beside her and digs his toe into the loud drunkard that started the fight, “And, what’s this? Why the
churl was sorry and gave us a gift as recompense for his rude behavior,” he says as he reaches down to the belt of the unconscious drunk raggedly snoring at your feet. He cuts the cord securing the man’s coin purse and hands the little leather sack to you with a roguish smirk.

“Why don’t you take it for your troubles? And don’t be afraid to drop by every now and then. As you can see, we’ve got plenty of use for you to keep these townies in check… we’re glad you're around.

and 5sp are given to each of the zatis.

the tall tent

The tall tent is the centerpiece of the Blue Veil’s Carnivalle. This is where the high mystiques are performed. In the center of the pavilion, Vestia and Skizzig will bring forth the greatest of the hanataz illusion magicks while Selvra and her beasts will exhibit their most impressive feats. Elnass, Saevra, and Mavea will dance the full cycle of magical movements in the Alsa’fresé, and the champions from the area around Nevermore will engage in contests of strength and skill-at-arms in the main ring with Borag, Calnassé, Kray, and others. The tent itself is a magical device that has been passed down from generation to generation in the Blue Veil. With just a word, Borag, Calnassé, or one of the other leaders, can raise the tent from the modest canvas bag in which it is stored. The tent is large enough to seat nearly four hundred people comfortably, and five hundred or more, if the carnivalle attendance requires “standing room only” for a performance.

 

 You notice several smaller shapes weaving their way between the legs of those in line towards the front. Too late… you recognize them as the annoying kids that have been causing trouble at Carnivalle since you set the tents. With a cry of, "Dragon Punchers rule!”, the two leaders, Cleeva and Harold, each toss a smoke bomb into the tent. Shouts of surprise erupt inside, though you can tell many assume the smoke is the start of the next act.

 

tent of jests

It is perhaps with some trepidation that you check in on the Tent of Jests. Zani and Columbina, the clowns of the Blue Veil, run their slapstick shows here, and raucous laughter can always be heard flowing out of their tent. However, some in the troupe do not appreciate their dedication to the craft, as their antics continue even outside of the Carnivalle shows. Fortunately others, especially the yunstas, love their goofy pranks and exaggerated reactions.

The show sounds to be just finishing and outside, Taeleen and Fizbin, the two frenta jesters-in-training, are putting on a sideshow for the folks waiting in line. As they finish their routine, Taeleen beckons you over.

Taeleen is perfect for the role of a hanataz jester. She is never out of character. As you get close, she puts her hands on her hips and makes a stern, grumpy face and then points into the tent. 

Through the open tent flaps, you can see Zani with his blue face-paint. He’s wearing a tight outfit covered by suns, stars, moons, and planets. Columbina is nearby in her equally distinctive green makeup and flowing costume covered in foxes, ravens, rabbits, and spiders. On occasion the two will switch outfits and see how long it takes people to notice. At the moment Columbina is chasing Zani as she attempts to slap him with a large river fish. He deftly scampers along in front of her while he spills round beads in his flight. She slips and stumbles, though amazingly keeps her feet. Both of the clowns end up falling through an interior flap of the tent, ending the show to much laughter and applause.

As the applause begins to die down, and the people start filtering out of the tent, Anton, the blue veil’s priest, peeks from the backflap of the tent and waves you over...

Moving to the back of the tent to Anton...

You pick your way carefully through the tent and pass beyond the back-flap. It would be a surprise to many that the rear of the Tent of Jests also serves as the troupe’s portable shrine to the gods. Silver discs with the holy symbols of a number of gods are reverently placed throughout the shrine. The symbols of Jinxx, the lord of the fools and Kizmya, The goddess of luck are hung to be the most prominent as they are considered the patrons of the traveling folk. These two are surrounded by a ring of other emblems paying homage to Fuffahn, the joylord of festivals; Buffahn, the god of brewing; Haleona, the lady of freedom; Brannad, patron of good-natured rogues; Kaakeon, the waylord of paths and roads; Mystos, god of mysteries and prophecy; and Chanze, god of gambling and risk-taking.

As you enter, you see Zani and Columbina are cleaning up their makeup and stuffing colored scarves down their sleeves, while Anton stands with his hands on his hips looking at the jesters, an annoyed expression on his face. Anton turns to greet you. He wears a baggy shirt and trousers, a short vest, and a magnificent blue turban which is pinned with an ornamental symbol of Jinxx. Numerous fine chains hang across his chest; each one is festooned with medallions bearing the symbols of gods. His large, finely groomed mustache bobs as he nods to you.

“Welcome, zatis. It is wise to take time to honor the gods, even on such a busy day; especially on such a busy day. Not too much trouble so far, I hope?”

Anton will gladly listen to whatever tales the players care to share from their encounters so far.

“Well, that is good, I am grateful for your vigilance,” he says, “However,” he continues with an irritated clearing of his throat, “it is unfortunate that I must ask for your help with some of our own. My votive candles have gone missing, and I do not believe any of the locals are to blame…”

Anton glares daggers at the two clowns who look at each other with questioning looks.

“Can you not cease this buffoonery for even a moment?! What have you done with my damned candles?!”

Zani gives an exaggerated full body shrug with an overwrought frown while Columbina mimes a gasp. They share a soundless laugh before beginning another pantomime. Columbina goes stock still with her arms spread wide, while Zani disappears behind her voluminous costume. He sticks his face out and makes a chittering sound before vaulting atop her shoulders and tossing a handful of blue and white confetti over a fuming Anton. Finally, he produces a candle from one of the folds of Columbina’s outfit with a beaming smile.

“Yes, fine, thank you. But where are the rest?” he asks, with a tone of exasperation.

candle thief

 

 

 

 

 

Connections

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