Dakkon

The Last Flower Falls

We begin the session by focusing on Jack, Aideena, and Fiamma, who have waited—to no avail—for the other members of the party to return from their excursion to the jail. They’ve waited as long as they can, however, and start to prepare their disguises for the trip to the warehouse for the second meeting amongst the resistance.

Jack ages himself to appear as an old man and is unrecognizable; Fiamma’s disguise, however, is less successful and is precariously held in place. Aideena puts on the wig she’s been using while in Easar and the three of them head to Docksides and the warehouse.

While they’re moving along, Jack hears an unfamiliar voice behind him say, “Fritz.” Jack keeps walking and casually drops something, discreetly looking while he picks up the object to see who’s calling to him. It’s the Rag and Bone Man. He catches up with Jack and walks alongside him, and tells him to ask Helena about their father.

Jack asks the Rag and Bone Man, “Who are you?”

He replies, “There’s no time. There will be time to talk later. My job is looking after the cast off things of the world.” After saying this, he melts back into the crowd, telling Jack as they part that they’ll meet again soon and there will be time later to talk. He then disappears.

Meanwhile, Aideena tries to discern what’s going on, but she’s unable to. She doesn’t really remember the Rag and Bone Man and she’s not privy to their conversation.

The rest of the walk passes without incident and they soon find their way to the warehouse. Jack wants to make sure that it’s safe to enter and Jalmari is standing just inside, waiting. He ushers them in, scolding them for being late. He moves in with the group and Lady Askadel keeps watch at the door.

Jalmari demands to know where the rest of us are and Aideena is forced to explain that, at her and Janus’s behest, the group went to the jail to find information about their mutual friend. Jalmari is very unhappy about this turn of events and makes his displeasure known before walking off.

Helena walks up to the group and asks after the message she got, specifically wondering what happened. Jack tells her that, in a rush, that he died and was brought back to life, and that he’s also spoken to the Raven Queen. Helena is, understandably, upset at this information. Jack, as is his habit, brushes this off and asks after their father. Helena wants to know why and Jack tells her that he was told to ask by a man who knows his real name.

Helena looks evasive at this and says that she doesn’t know what happened. It’s clear, even to Jack, that she’s not being completely forthcoming, so he asks her what she’s not telling him.
Helena says, “I tracked him down after everything happened. You know Mama came after me? He went crazy. You don’t know what he was doing all those years?”

Jack indicates that he didn’t, so Helena explains to him that their father would go to the homes of the dying and did something. She doesn’t know what, exactly, but he would leave with more money and looking more pained. Then she ran away and Mama was killed in pursuit; the next thing she heard, Papa was spending time raving and getting drunk.

Jack wants to know when this was and Helena says it was about two years ago. She says she should have tracked their father down earlier. Jack doesn’t blame her, and Helena tells him that their father snapped, and that it was all her fault. When Jack asks why she thinks so, she says it’s because she left to go look for Jack when their parents didn’t. That’s when everything went wrong, when the family broke apart. She says that she feels responsible for that.

At about this moment, Daren walks up to Jack and, in an accusatory way, mentions that Jack wasn’t at the Inn the night before. In Jack’s inimitable way, he tells Daren that he died last night, but that Daren should ask Aideena for the details.

Daren is shocked and in disbelief, going over to Aideena for an explanation. She does the best she can, and when she’s done, Daren apologizes for being angry, saying that he cares about Jack and doesn’t know what to do about him. Daren unloads to Aideena, explaining that he doesn’t understand Jack, can’t tell if Jack likes him or not, and that he thought he was special to Jack. Aideena attempts to comfort him, saying that Jack’s not being cold to Daren, he’s just dumb. Daren admits that’s one of the things he likes about Jack, and then sighs and walks off.

Meanwhile, Helena says that maybe Jack ought to be nicer to Daren, and Jack answers that no one showed him how to be nice. Helena then asks Jack to stay with her at the Chapterhouse in Easar. Jack thinks seriously about it, thinking he might like that, but he tells her that it wouldn’t be nice to leave the rest of the party mid-quest. But he thinks very hard for a moment and says that she could come with us. Helena’s face goes through a gamut of emotions before settling on something fond and sad when she tells him maybe. And that she would like that. Then she gives him a hug filled with more sadness. Helena tells him that she has to go over to Solange, but that the two of them need to talk. She runs off.

Aideena overhears part of this conversation, but before she can totally process it, Lord Allexi approaches her. He greets her stiffly and formally, and she does the same, barely staying civil. He then thanks her for saving Davina’s life. Aideena just stares coldly, saying “I do value life, no matter how human.”

Lord Allexi begins to say, “You have to understand . . . ”

But Aideena cuts him off, saying that she doesn’t want to understand, that she accepts his gratitude, but that they have no other business with each other. He then takes his leave, saying that she’s as beautiful and challenging as ever. Aideena hears it, though, and glows with a bit of flame. She almost loses control of it before, at the last minute, she regains control. Lord Allexi, as he’s leaving, feels the heat from it.

About this time, Lord Miden and the Baroness seek the members of the group that are present. Quietly, they explain that things aren’t going well, that no one can agree on a leader or a strategy, and that they’ve come up with a solution.

They have observed that most of the people in the room know us and trust us, as well as believe in us. So they think it makes sense that neither Jalmari nor Gavrash lead—since they’re too politicized—but that we should. The one condition is that we should accept Jalmari and Gavrash as advisors. It’s clear that we’re being approached by surrogates that are feeling out how receptive we are to such an idea. Aideena thinks it over for a moment and gives a very diplomatic answer, saying that it’s a wise solution.

Just at that moment, the walls of the warehouse explode, leaving gaping holes where beams once stood. Through the breaches and the doors storm Chancellor Tavrix and several squads of Inquisitors, fearsome armored secret warriors of the King. At that moment, Lady Strael runs up to Tavrix and welcomes him, asking him if she did well. He tells her he did, and then he takes out a rod and gently touches it to her forehead. She instantly loses her shape and falls to the ground, dead, revealing that she’s a changeling.

A battle in the warehouse begins, with Tavrix immediately killing Lady Askadel, who was standing by the door, and Aideena going over and saving Lord Allexi when he’s attacked.

Meanwhile, in a different part of Docksides, the rest of the party are in a fight in the prison. I manage to free Kairon and another guard who assisted our battle against the prison guards. Druuk, unfortunately, escapes—much to Targoth’s displeasure—but not before he shatters Targoth’s sword, which enrages the dragonborn.

The prisoner that I released releases the rest of the prisoners and Targoth threatens to harm them if they don’t leave the city and keep quiet about what happened in the jail. He eventually gets through to them as they flee, and then we leave the prison, Kairon running off and being generally ungrateful for the help. This rubs Targoth and me the wrong way, neither of us very fond of the man.

We don’t have much time to dwell on it, though, because we know we have to get to the warehouse as quickly as we can. We are as yet unaware that the meeting has been discovered and that there’s a fight on, but we still make our way through the streets as quickly as we can. Soon after we stepped onto the city’s streets, a couple of boys with a blood-covered shiv run out of an alleyway. Eben sees a creature dying and Targoth wants to help, but Eben stops him, well aware that it’s his time to go. We continue on and are approached by a few toughs, wondering if we’re lost. Eben rushes at them and Janus and Targoth intimidate them into leaving us alone, which allows us to continue unimpeded to the warehouse.

Once we get there, we see that a battle is going on and join the fray. Slowly but surely, the resistance makes some headway against Tavrix’s men, until Fiamma goes down fighting and Tavrix realizes who she is.

He looks surprised and whispers, “She lived.” Then he goes over to her and stabs her through the chest.

Fiamma looks startled, her eyes wide and mouth in a surprised, small “O” as she looks down at the sword protruding from her chest. She reaches a hand up as if to touch it. Blood seeps from her mouth. The shock of the moment over, she seems resigned, almost expectant. “You must be the one,” she says. “The Chancellor, Tavrix.”

“Yes, my dear,” Tavrix says, his mouth near her ear. His voice is almost tender. “I have been looking for you for a very long time.”

Fiamma smiles. Her teeth are red like her hair. “I know,” she whispers, and then closes her eyes.

Tavrix lets her body slide off his blade. He gestures to two of his men. “Take her up. We may have come for these ones, but she is a prize beyond imagining. Let us away to the palace.”

One of the men calls out from the skirmish: “My Lord! Do we retreat?”

“Oh, no,” Tavrix says. “Kill them all.” Two of the men pick Fiamma up and take her to the Palace.

Tavrix himself attempts to leave but I manage to knock him unconscious. Unfortunately, the attempt to kill him while he’s unconscious proves unsuccessful and he gets away.

As he’s leaving, though, he sees me and his eyes light up as though in recognition, even though I’m in disguise. This unnerves me greatly and I attempt to get as far away from him as possible.

Tavrix leaves and the resistance steadily kills off the men he left behind. When there’s only a few of them left, the remaining ones commit suicide by setting the warehouse on fire, forcing us to flee the building.

Once outside, those of us who are left are immediately separated into two groups, going in two different directions. One group is headed into the sewer with an unknown final destination, and the other—including us—are headed with Solange onto a ship. Before anyone can go anywhere, though, the Rag and Bone Man shows up, telling the assembled group that the members of Horsebane are under his protection. He sprinkles dust on us and tells us that we won’t be noticed.

There’s no time to talk, though, and since no one but us, Solange, Helena, and Janus have been sprinkled with the dust, everyone else goes into the sewers, to split up later. We head for the docks and a ship captained by a man that Solange knows. The name of the ship is the Black Moon; its captain, Ral, has worked with Solange before. We make it to the ship and are immediately ushered into his quarters and told to stay there while he navigates us out of the city.

Everyone sort of looks shell-shocked and is quiet. Jack is mostly focused on Helena; Aideena has a strange feeling of guilt; Helena is not breaking down, her face stoic. Targoth is shaken and upset at Fiamma’s death. He’s also furious at Tavrix and Druuk, and frustrated that both of them got away. He looks over his broken sword, thinking lots of thoughts. Eben is happy that Gavrash survived. I’m very upset, particularly at Fiamma’s death and Tavrix making away with her body, worried about what they’re going to do with it. I’m also terrified remembering the look of recognition in Tavrix’s face. Solange laments what happened to Fiamma after keeping her safe for so many years.

Aideena tells Targoth, Eben, and me about what went on in the warehouse before we got there, particularly about Lady Strael and the Rod of Dominion. I’m even more scared now, knowing that he had it on him and could potentially have used it on me. I don’t voice these thoughts, but they weigh pretty heavily on my mind.

Jack decides that, while we’re on this ship, he is going to practice being nice. So he decides to walk up to Aideena and pats her awkwardly on the shoulder. Aideena asks him how Helena is, and Jack responds that she’s okay. Tough. There’s a bit of a pause before Aideena fills it by asking how Jack is. He says that he’s okay, and then he awkwardly asks how Aideena is.

She replies that she doesn’t know, and then Jack doesn’t say anything to do, unsure what the correct “being nice” thing to say would be. Aideena continues by saying, “I’m alive, which is more than I can say about . . . ” and trails off awkwardly.

I’m close enough to hear the conversation and if I weren’t so upset by the events that had taken place, I’d probably be highly amused by it. During this, Targoth mutters curse words to himself in Draconic, and Jack gives up trying to be nice for the moment and goes back to his sister.

Targoth then turns to Solange and says, “You were worried about this.”

Solange replies, “The poor girl was a sacrifice.” Then she asks for the prophecy and asks us what we make of it. She reads it aloud, saying she is very concerned about the first two stanzas, but that we have no choice but to push on.

Targoth mentions that he thinks the third stanza refers to a sword housed in the Royal Archives. Solange asks if we’ll fail if he doesn’t get that sword. Targoth says that it seems fateful.

She asks how his sword was shattered and Targoth explains about the jail expedition while I glare at the wall. The reminder that we went on what was essentially a wild goose chase while members of the resistance—something I’ve dedicated almost my whole life to—were dying is enough to further frustrate and upset me, particularly since I felt it my duty to protect Fiamma as my father had done.

Janus offers the idea that it would be easy enough to get back into the Thaumaturgy. There’s a secret entrance that we can go through, and then the easiest way out of the city would be through a portal. Having visited Saresh’s office, we know that he has a portal we could potentially use, especially since he probably wouldn’t be there.

Jack offers that maybe the Raven Queen wanted her, which reminds Targoth to ask Jack who the man was that sprinkled us with dust. Solange explains that the Rag and Bone Man is a servant of the Raven Queen and collects lost souls and ferries them. She adds that the Raven Queen has an affinity for Jack; it’s clear that he’s a Favored of the Raven. Eben snarls at this, which prompts Jack to turn to Helena and say, “I told you they weren’t nice.”

This is the second time in as many days that we’ve heard one of the epithets that described each of us. The other was just the other day when Saresh told Targoth that there are many Draconic legends of The Many.

Helena again reiterates her desire for Jack to go with her, and Jack is certainly tempted, but then he says, “I have a job to do for the Raven Queen. I need to find the pearls.”

Targoth then asks Solange where we’re headed and she tells us that it’s up to us. Jack reminds us that we still have to find the pearls. Solange stares at him in disbelief and asks, “You talk to the Raven Queen? Deities don’t do that.”

Jack fills Solange in on the pearl dream and the conversation between the Raven Queen and Sehanine. Targoth suggests that we head back into the city and get the sword from the Archives, though he agrees that it’s dangerous to go back there. Janus says that there’s unrest in the Scrivener’s Academy and the Thaumaturgy.

At that moment, the door bursts open and the captain says we have to get off the ship, but before he can really explain why, he’s killed and pirates enter the cabin.

They attack us, and we defeat them, though Jack gets bull rushed into the water. Rescuing him goes fairly smoothly and we keep one of the pirates alive on the condition that he answer some of our questions. He agrees and we tie him up—with his permission, of course—and begin asking him questions.

Targoth asks why they attacked us and the man answers that they’ve been in control of the ship for over a week, that they’re taking over the smuggling rings. Targoth then asks if the man knows who Druuk is.

The guy acts like he doesn’t, asking, “The constable?” and then says that he heard the guy is cracking down on smuggling, but that he keeps missing the Borderlanders. While everyone else is having trouble, the Borderlanders are thriving.

Janus is able to determine that he’s lying about something and we continue questioning him, despite the guy swearing that he’s telling the truth. Targoth asks if the guy knows Morage and he swears he doesn’t, that he’s never seen him. He does say that most of the Borderlanders are from Bashar, which is where Morage is from.

The guy is panicky and spewing all sorts of information, telling us that no one has seen Morage and that the smuggling is all over the Docksides, and that the goal of the Borderlanders is to take over all the smuggling in Easar.

Finally, we finish questioning him. He agrees to help us sail the ship and we turn it around to head for the cliffs.

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