Rainbow Royale

34: Pigs on the Wing

The group sends the newly-captured boat back to Stove as they fly off on their own. On the way, Doc and Sven spot a shiny off in the distance and head off without mentioning it to anyone. Doc finds a cave at the top of a crag. In the mouth of a cave is a polished silver medallion with a bust on it. A trail of treasures leads into the mouth of the cave. Making his way into the cave, Doc avoids a pressure-plate trap, resists a mental attack, and makes his way through a maze to open the final door: dragon hoard. Mounds of cash and jewelry, statues, art, whatever, and in the middle a green-and-gold dragon claw pedestal with a softball-sized emerald sphere. Doc ganks the orb and the claw and heads out.

Meanwhile, the group realizes he’s gone. As they fly on, there’s a great thunderclap and draconic roar, then a huge crack as the crag off in the distance splits in two. Doc and Sven come tearing out of the mouth of the cave, Doc carrying two cloth-of-gold bags, one with the orb (wrapped in cloth) and claw, the other a random bag of bling. On the way he shows the orb off to Fairweather, who explains it all to Barrosh.

The group flies back into Stove where the Wild Card and the other boat are tied up to the pier. Alric comes to meet them with letters from both of the wizards he’d contacted. One of them, Nathan, delivered a small swan figurine that’s apparently a boat or something. The other… well, half the time he’s coherent, and half the time… he sends letters consisting of random formulae and geometry and incoherent paragraphs. Tarim fixes on the letter and takes it back to the cabin to start deciphering it.

Doc takes Alric off in private and shows him the orb. Alric pretty much shits himself, warning Doc never to let Archer see the orb. After arguing with the group for a while and refusing to explain why it was so dangerous, Alric throws up his hands and leaves.

The group heads for the boat (once Doc figures out to throw the Quall’s feather token into the water), grabbing Tarim and calling Alric along the way. Alric sits in the back with arms crossed. Doc pokes him with the dragon orb. Alric glances at the rest of the party, then passes his hand across Doc’s eyes, turning them pure white. He whispers for a solid minute then restores Doc, putting him to sleep instead. Alric grabs the orb and hands it to Fairweather. He has re-written Doc’s memory so that the silver medallion was the center of the dragon hoard, not the orb.

As the group approaches their destination, Fairweather slyly trades the orb for random crap before throwing it off the side of the swan-boat.

The boat lands at a small island with a single farmhouse in the lee of a ridge. An ancient man in a patched, star-spangled robe and bent wizard hat toddles out on a cane calling for Alric. The wizard, Nathan, invites the group inside his house, which is full to bursting with arcane books and alchemical supplies. Eventually the group gets around to explaining that they want to hire Nathan to fight a war that he doesn’t even know is happening. Eventually he agrees and grabs his stuff, then goes outside and summons a fucking massive black horse with flaming eyes and hooves. He asks for fifty astral diamonds and not one less. The group wisely acquiesces.

They head back to Hanging Bay to find their last objective – a fighting navy. As Barrosh and Doc argue over the diamonds and pretty much everything else, Fairweather bails and finds a mercenary company, asking to hire all of them for a week. He gets quotes a million GP. Returning, he shows Doc where to find the mercenary group. Doc and the mercenary trade words at gunpoint, Doc talks the guy down to 600k, Fairweather finds a money changer while the guy refuses to drink on the job. The group takes their last 25 astral diamonds to the Golden Fold.

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