Ep 9: "Wasting Away"

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Pesk began her day at the Divine Foundry. Still standoffish about speaking with Afra, Pesk slipped her a note to meet at the Beer Forge if she wanted to talk to Cyl.
Lannoch offered to work at the Beer Forge and Ivy agreed to hire him. He was a hard worker with strong managerial instincts, strict opinions on service and food quality, and he fit with the theme of the bar (aka dwarves).
Lark painted a sign before going to the Forge.
As Cyl walked through a park, she noticed the lonely/gothic human poet staring at a broken swing set. He said that it “wasn’t time” for them to be seeing each other again. She managed to get his name. He introduced himself as “Whatever”, and told her that his parents named him that. He is extremely nihilistic, as usual, but hands her a black knit hat he made himself. Delighted, Cyl put the hat on and found that there were dangly bits of yarn that mostly covered her face, like long emo-bangs to match his own. She refreshed the black X’s she painted on his hands the last time they’d met, but this time in black glitter paint. She then sat to paint herself for the day. They spent much of the morning together, talking about the color black and friends. C yl eventually came to the conclusion that Whatever was not actually sad, but he is in pain. When she got up for her lunch date with the party, Whatever cryptically asked her to “say hi to the spider” for him.
Beer Forge:
Around lunchtime at the Beer Forge, Rosie was playing a set on stage and Lannoch was working a shift. They were soon met by Pesk, GB, Cyl, and Lark. Lark gave Ivy the sign he’d painted in the morning, which read “REZERVVED”. After the party was previously tricked with an illusion of the Cecily Special price, he wanted to ensure that they were never tricked again. He suggested that Ivy use it to give them an additional signal for if it was safe to talk about the resistance.
Ivy gave Pesk a drink but the Zozo juice is still stopping her from tasting anything. Rosie ran out to look for the ball that Lannoch made her. She returned to tell us that baby rats were playing with it and she didn’t want to disturb them.
Afra showed up, got a beer and steak skewer, and joined the party. Rosie told a delightful story about a man that killed a dragon with a large stick. Still uncertain of her feelings about Afra after their fight, Pesk left the bar. Afra was about to leave but Cyl stopped her, partially to give Pesk space, but also to ask what she wanted to speak about. Afra told us that she could get us all into the boat lift to investigate the disease affecting the eirshale, if we want. Cyl agreed for the group. Afra dropped a couple crowns on the table for the lift ride down, instructing them to meet her at the ocean docks in two hours. She left.
Lark went out to join Pesk, looking at the water of the river. He gave her a hug and brought her back inside. Lark retrieved Lannoch from a prep-station to inform him of the group’s plan to go and enter the boatlift with Afra’s help.
Bilgeport:
The party walked to the cargo lift at the edge of the waterfall side of Cinderhaven. The boat lift was operating as they approached. Cyl paid the group’s passage beyond what money Afra had dropped. The party knew the Nocturne didn’t come down this far, so they feel comfortable passing some time while they wait for their meeting time. Rosie and Lark played music while GB and Cyl danced VERY POORLY.
In the distance, the party sees a figure fall from the city thousands of feet above, but stops itself from certain death by some sort of magical or mechanical means (probably Feather Fall). It’s Afra.
At this point, the party was still unsure whether to trust Afra, after the man she hired to “test our loyalty” almost killed Seldanna. They decided that Cyl’s need to see the eirshale was more important than their concerns right now.
Afra lead the party to the last dock next to the boatlift. Afra had timed their arrival with a storm she’d somehow summoned, and with a fog cloud to hide their approach to the boatlift, they rowed a boat across the rough waters. They climbed a steel scaffolding some fifty stories up, and the scale of the lift made the party feel very small.
Inside the boatlift, Afra opened a door with arcane glyphs all over it using a 4 inch cube-like key. She also used the cube to turn on lights hanging along a 500 foot scaffolding walkway. The large empty space had skeleton gears all over it, none of them moving. During the walk, when Afra learned that Pesk had a run in with the Nocturne, she revealed that the Nocturne do not remember things. So, if they don’t catch someone in the act, that person won’t be tracked down by them later for the transgression.
Several flights of stairs downward, they reached the floor of the boatlift shaft, which was constructed with transmuted eirshale. Eirshale that has been transmuted has a similar look to it compared to its raw form, but can have any number of physics-defying properties. Cyl removed her shoes and began gingerly walking across the eirshale floor, to feel connected to it somehow. She felt something unfamiliar about the stone beneath her. There were no seems along the surface, as if it was constructed out of one piece, although it had to have been constructed using more than one.
They reached the end of the shaft and easily diagnosed the problem. The eirshale was flaking into small pieces, organically, like plywood rotting. Chunks had broken off and had been sliding around as the lift turned. The affected area was brittle enough to easily break it in half. Afra demonstrated this and the party investigated the area, finding no magic there. The grayish green marbling inside the affected area smelled moldy. The shaft was only about a quarter or half inch thick, so any rot would be bad. But the affected area was about 30 feet wide, and had been growing by inches every day.
GB suggested that Cyl should go and clean herself off. She stepped back but didn’t not leave. She’d never seen anything like this before. It’s spreading at two to three inches a day.
Pesk sat down to cast augury with a set of carved bones and a bit of eirshale. Asking the bones if Cyl touching the infected eirshale would be bad. The results told Pesk it would be bad, possibly dangerous, for Cyl to touch the affected eirshale.
Suddenly the boatlift lurched and the wheel started to turn, despite the boat lift supposedly being on break. Eirshale dust started falling onto the group, and Lannoch gave up his cloak to Cyl while GB cast magic to make Cyl faster. She booked it for the exit with the rest of her friends close behind. The party escaped the boatlift safely and found a second boat beside their own as they left and paddled back to Bildgeport.
Pesk sardonically asked Afra if they “passed”. Afra Afra tried to assuage Pesk’s doubts, apologizing and explaining that Pesk passed well before the test, but her trust in friends had been destroyed by her experiences in Cinderhaven.
If the boatlift were ever to be destroyed, the economy would tank and the city of Cinderhaven would die. Afra was fine with the boatlift becoming disabled for a short time, but she said we cannot let it be lost completely. The monster that once used it to climb the cliffside is dangerous but they cannot know that it’s still alive or that its under Goodsbury’s command.
Afra gave Cyl a scroll of Sending so that Cyl could try to figure out what’s going on with the eirshale by asking her mother back home. Afra suggested Pesk take some time off, but was refused. In turn, Pesk tried to stop Afra from feeling guilty for helping Goodsbury, but, of course, Afra has been pretty damaged by the last 15 years.
The party plans to show this to Pinbol, who’d previously expressed interest in eirshale and might be able to diagnose the “disease”. Afra revealed to us that she doesn’t want anything to do with Pinbol, and left after handing us the travel fare to get back up to the city.
Pinbol’s Library :
As instructed by Pinbol, the party found a sewer grate marked with a prime number and used the secret phrase “Libris Austium” to gain entry to the wizard’s secret library.
The party scoured the shelves, finding that there’s only deep dives into esoteric non-fiction subjects. No “101” books for researching purposes. Their efforts don’t yield anything helpful, though we find one mention of eirshale. Rosie retrieves Pinbol for help, who is able to give us some guidance on our search.
Pinbol departs for a date with Oisin.
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