>>> Chapter 13 <<<
>>> Prelude <<<
As you may recall, we'd just finished *ahem* visiting an alchemist's lab... although, perhaps a bit more violently that we'd have liked. Well, more violently than I'd have liked. Pretty sure the Bloodrager liked the visit just fine.
With invoices & ledgers in hand, we took a recovery day (hoo-boy, Wisdom drain) to prep for our next move. And what move would that be? Apparently more planning!
However, in the meantime, the Bloodrager had a different plan in mind. So, apparently she & the Fighter went to look for cage fights. Surprisingly they actually did so without starting a street brawl of their own. Unfortunately, the "fight club" they found was a noble's ring. Ergo, it's a betting pool for brawls between paid fighters. Yeah, not exactly what they were looking for. Fortunately, a helpful attendant was able to offer them information concerning a more "hands-on" ring (i.e., exactly what the Bloodrager wanted). And off they went.
Sure enough, the ring was exactly what you'd expect. A back alley, underground brawler's tourney, complete with the odds & bookies. I think the Bloodrager found her second home...
They for right down to it & "registered" as a combantant for the night. They drew lots & the Bloodrager ended up being paired with what we assumed to be a bareknuckled Orc brawler-berserker. There were others that might have been worse, such as a Monk that used poisoned fist techniques (and you'd never think it, but the Bloodrager has a combo chain going of rolling 1-3 on her Fortitude saves).
Two or three fights later, it's the Bloodrager's turn. Annnnnnnnnnnnnnnd the Fighter bet a thousand gold on her to win. You can imagine the stink eye he shot her when she joked about throwing the fight (she actually meant throwing the Orc... through a wall).
The fight starts off a bit unexpected when the Orc opens up with a barely-successful Bull Rush. I say barely as it did push her back... but only 5 feet. And in her blood rage, she's got reach, plus more when she drops a spell or two (which she does for free when blood raging). When she retaliated, things got... interesting. Why? Well, she knocked off his hat. His Hat... of Disguise. And then we saw what he really was.
A four-armed gargoyle.
Suddenly the crowd was being treated to a monster on monster fight. The Bloodrager in her Enlarged blood rage (Demon & Dragon) form & the Orc, now a mutant gargoyle. I don't think they cared that much, if anything they got MORE into it.
The two traded blow for blow for several rounds, the gargoyle having more attacks, but the Bloodrager doing far & away more damage per attack.
The several rounds was exactly several, by the by. And the promoters had to throw up Walls of Force to stop the Bloodrager from murderballing the quickly-knocked-unconscious mutant gargoyle. Because she absolutely would have torn it apart limb from limb. It's "handler" put some sort of collar on it, as I recall, healed it a bit & departed with it, appearing to be somewhat surprised by the outcome, but not flabbergasted.
Upon returning from the ring, the Bloodrager told us the story of her exploits. Although certainly impressive, I (the Thief) had no doubt that my daughter would break just about anyone's face one-on-one. But I did tell her how good of a job she did. Then Brugo told us about the betting pool. And the only thing I had to say about that was, "And you didn't put a writ down for a coin's bet on my behalf?" Tsk.
Meh. Fortunately, most of us have quite a lot of coin at this point. Although I've still got mundane weapons myself. Sooooo expensive...
The next day, we (and by that, I guess I mean me) meet with our noble-contact & give him the ledgers we found as well as a full overview of what happened & what we saw. We ended up later discussing the ledgers with a goblin the noble brought in through his own contacts with the Guild.
At first, we didn't really think we found anything. But it turns out... that we actually didn't find anything. Let me explain.
So we know there's a dragon involved somehow. Brugo saw it one night while on watch, because OF COURSE Brugo was the one to see it. And in the alchemist's lab, we found ledgers for orders of massive quantities of Potions of Protection from Fire. As well as orders for Ballista Bolts of Wounding & Sovereign Glue. Weird combo, right? Not if you want to kill a dragon with damage over time I suppose? But no one else knows of the dragon & we really don't know who's on who's side, so we can't just tell everyone about what we've found or what we think it's for. We don't know for sure if the dragon is a good thing (it's Gold, by the way) or not. And we don't know for sure why the Elven military (under presumed orders from the country's Regent) want it dead. Or if they want it dead. But the orders & draft came from within the military, so...?
We end up with a lot of questions as to who, why, what & when, but so far few answers. Hence, Left turn at Albuquerque...
Well, as it turns out, the noble happens to have contact with a gnome we met some time back. The ruins in the potion city? Crazy bugger looking to start a museum? Apparently he started his museum thanks to us clearing out the ruins. And now he's being paid, maybe?, to look into the materials we've provided the noble.
Deus Ex Machina? Yeah, because I think we're totally lost in what to do. But hey, the gnome says if we want to learn more about dragons (I guess we do?), go to these ruins in the wastes (which are weeks of travel away). There's an ancient library there from the last war that's rumored to have tomes on dragons there.
Oh, it also has undead. Lots of undead.
You can imagine how excited my Thief is to hear that we'll be fighting hordes of things immune to sneak attacks. Although the Cleric is all about it. WHAT?! A PLACE OF DESECRATION AND DEATH FOR ME TO CLEANSE?! WHY ARE WE NOT THERE YET?!
Also, the Druid was able to make arrangements with the local druid circle to make use of their grove to use Transport Via Plant.
Through a cactus.
A tiny, cactus.
Cacti, cactus singular.
Next time, on The Chronicles of "Of Course Brugo Did," Hopefully NOT the Tomb of Horrors?