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Summary[]

The party race to make Sasha un-undead. They head into the Meritocratic vault in search of clues. Sasha deals with some traps. Grizzop deals with Wilde. Then the party head of in a carriage with Officers of the Apophis Office, the Heart of Aphrodite safe in Azu's hands.

Synopsis[]

The party is in the vaults beneath the Tahan branch with the Heart of Aphrodite; they’re heading off to figure out where the key they have goes to.  

Sasha’s shoes are currently covered in vomit, and she looks incredibly ill, nearly grey. The two guards look at each another, and then look at the party, noticing Sasha. The nice guard hands her a hanky, and says that it happens a lot. Sasha waits a moment, but then her hand shoots out and grabs it, wiping at her face.  

The professional guard turns to Azu, and asks for the key. Azu looks at the others to make sure she can trust the guards, and Hamid nods. The guard takes it, holds it up, and then they lead the rest of the party off in another direction. They go through a similar sequence at another end of the wall; they insert the key, and the stone shifts, revealing a room the size of a mundane office. 

Looking inside appears to be the messiest filing system they’ve ever seen, with filing cabinets around the room and piles of paper everywhere. Hamid says that it’s a weird place to have an office, and Wilde asks how often someone has used that vault. The guards say they don’t know, and would have to check the records. Grizzop says that this is probably going to be a waste of time, but the other three want to search it. He asks what they’re looking for, and Hamid answers that they’re looking for magical tech, power systems, etc., and Grizzop dives on in.  

As he digs through, Grizzop realizes that he’s looking at a lot of technical notes that are terribly filed and look to be done freehand. It is huge permutations of designs and figures that don’t make a lot of sense to him. Grizzop asks if there will be a way to have the Meritocrats to get a filing team down here who can relay the information back to them, and Hamid says that once they know what’s actually down here they’ll be able to.  

Azu is aware of a few extra things - she picks an arbitrary filing cabinet that seems to be focused on tracking materials. There is significant amounts of traffic with Damascus, and she knows that there is a fairly sizable orcish community living out there. She spots a few orcish names in the records.  

Sasha goes over to the metal desk (with one set of drawers down one side) that’s basically hiding in the back of the room, and checks it for traps. All of the drawers are locked and trapped. She is able to discern that two are mundane, and one is magical; she starts with the mundane traps first. The top drawer has a hand trap which she successfully disables, and the second drawer has the same exact trap which she also disables.  

The third drawer, the magical one, has a large amount of explosive runes on the inside - if she were to read them, the desk would explode. She goes in from underneath and extracts everything from inside while leaving the drawer in place. She gets a single manila folder. It’s slim, and seems quite organized. Sasha says that she thinks that they found what they came for, and Grizzop says that they can finally leave. She asks why Grizzop is so antsy, and Hamid says that he just likes getting things done in a timely manner. Sasha responds that she’s the one on the time limit, and Grizzop says that they can go help her out with the heart. Azu asks what she has, and Sasha explains how she got past the trap.  

Hamid was digging through all the paperwork and he can’t shake the suspicion that the paperwork isn’t legit. Someone has filled the room with deliberately confusing paperwork to confuse someone who doesn’t know what they’re looking for, and he knows that what Sasha has is probably what they need. He asks to look at the Damascus papers, and Azu offers them over. He wants to see if they’re genuine or similar to the same confusing mess from before. He takes a bunch of them.  

A black and white digital drawing of Wilde and Grizzop. Wilde, a human male, has medium length hair and is wearing a suit. His eyes are wide and his mouth is open. He looks like he is being pushed back. In front of him is Grizzop, a goblin male, is back facing the viewer. He is wearing leather armor and a cape. He is leaning forwards with his ears pointing straight up and his left hand is punching Wilde in the genitals.

Grizzop punches Wilde in the genitals. Art by @areyouokaypanda on tumblr. Used with permission.

Azu asks Wilde if he knows anything about this, as he hasn’t stepped into the room. Wilde explains that spending any time around potentially explosive things isn’t a great idea, so they all head out of the vault with the manila folder and the information on Damascus.

Sasha is starting to feel a little nervous, talking about the magical medical procedure that she’s going to have to undergo. Hamid reassures her that she’s going to be fine, and Wilde says that she probably will be, continuing on to say that it’s been a while since anyone has even attempted this. Grizzop, annoyed, walks over and punches Wilde in the crotch, telling him to shut up. Wilde crumples to the floor, fetal. Grizzop taps him on the top of the head, and Azu asks why Grizzop did that. Grizzop turns to Sasha and apologizes for what Wilde said, saying that everything will be fine. She still sounds incredibly stressed, and Grizzop offers to hit the other one for her, but Sasha says it’s alright.

Hamid is busy reading through the folder, unconcerned. Sasha tells Grizzop that she doesn’t want to get on Grizzop's bad side, and Grizzop says that as long as she isn’t antagonizing a person he cares about, she’ll be fine. Azu looks at Grizzop with disappointment, but Grizzop just gives her a blank look. Azu picks Wilde up and slings him over her shoulder.

Hamid, reading over the papers, doesn’t recognize the plans from the manila folder. It doesn’t look anything like the Simulacrum at all, but what he does think it might be is a kill switch for it. It may not turn it off, but it’ll mess it up in some way. He would need some researchers to know more. Sasha doubles back to re-check the two drawers in the desk, and finds a lockbox that she opens. There are two pouches inside. One is full of gold and silver (worth about 150) and the other is uncut diamonds (about ~18,000 worth of diamonds). In the second drawer, she finds travel papers and documents for Nikola Tesla, which would allow him to travel anywhere he wanted. Sasha checks the passport and sees the stamps that confirm where they need to be heading.

The party ask if they should be heading off to Eren Fairhands, and Sasha says that maybe they should stay here for a bit, check it out more. She seems very apprehensive to go talk to Fairhands. Grizzop says that he knows she’s worried, and Sasha says that Fairhands talked about melting her. Grizzop and Hamid try to comfort her, explaining that the heart will work and will heal her, and Wilde gives her two shaky thumbs up. Azu says that it will be a miracle.

They head back out of the vaults, taking the same route back. Along the way, Wilde starts staggering along by himself, giving Grizzop evil looks, although he doesn’t say anything. Grizzop just gives him a cheery grin every time Wilde looks at him. A set of guards join the two they’ve had; one says that as they walk through the bank, they will be escorted by guards, but that once they leave, they’re no longer under the bank’s protection. There is a guard outside provided by the Meritocracy who will escort them the rest of the way. Azu checks for the clam - it’s still there and fine, and feels pleasantly warm. Wilde stands up, still looking the worse for wear, and walks out.

The guards escort them to the front doors, and then they head out onto the front street. The sandstorm outside has lessened, but there are still little flurries here and there. There are a few guards waiting outside, carrying halberds. Hamid makes a comment about how this is just going to draw more attention, but it turns out the sandstorm going outside means that the press has left the front of the gate.

The party now head on foot toward a carriage, escorted by the new guards. The carriage is armored; Sasha asks where they’re heading, and Hamid says toward the hospital. The guards tell Hamid and Azu that they’re from the Apophis office, and that they will be taking them to Eren Fairhands. They get in the carriage and the four guards take up position on either side. Hamid asks to be up top, and Sasha joins him up there. Azu and Grizzop go in the carriage.

Azu says that she’s happy that they’re going to save Sasha, and Grizzop says that it’s been a long time coming. There’s a bit of an awkward silence and Azu mentions that Grizzop doesn’t get on with Wilde. He explains that Wilde’s awful, and that it’s unfortunate that he’s their handler, and starts venting about how Wilde had no need to say anything to antagonize Sasha when she got the injury doing work for him, and is obviously scared about what’s going to happen. Azu asks if maybe he’s just stupid, and Grizzop says that maybe he is, but that he absolutely deserved what Grizzop did to him. Azu doesn’t seem sure, but Grizzop says that everything can’t be nice all the time; Azu says that maybe he should try it, instead, but Grizzop asks her if she knows the tenets of Artemis: “remember the slight so that you may pay it back in kind.”  

Grizzop says that Wilde has slighted him before, so he was just paying it back, and doubly so because Sasha is part of the pack and Wilde was being antagonistic toward her. He says that Wilde wasn’t being very helpful, and that he’s on the outside for that situation. Azu asks if Wilde kicked Grizzop in the groin at some point, and Grizzop says that Wilde spoke to him in a way that eliminated him as a person (namely “this” and “it”) and Azu says that she’s had that happen as well. Grizzop says that he thinks he let Wilde off lightly, and Azu doesn’t seem convinced but lets the matter drop. Grizzop asks if Azu has some Aphrodite wisdom for him, asking if it’s just the word hugs ten times. Azu says that one is not to do more harm than necessary, and Grizzop says that it’s a decent rule. 

Up top, Hamid and Sasha are watching their progress. Thanks to the sand, the journey is taking longer than it actually should. Sasha asks if Hamid’s heard anything from Barret, and Hamid says that he let him know that he was angry, and that Hamid told him to leave them alone. Sasha asks if there were any clues about how Barret would try to murder them all; Hamid says that he mentioned a cult, but has no idea what he’s referring to. Sasha asks if he meant the Cult of Mars, but Hamid doesn’t think so, since Barret mentioned that he’d been keeping the cult away from them. Hamid thinks it might be the ones with the hoods, like some sort of religious order, but he says that it’ll be fine and they’ll be able to take care of anything that comes their way. 

Suddenly, a single cowled figure appears in the middle of the road, far away. They can’t really see from here. A second figure steps out from behind the first, and then a third. It’s the same outfit as the first one they fought, at Aziza's funeral. Hamid casts fireball on the three of them, pointing as a streak of fire flies forward, hitting the floor and expanding, creating a hemisphere of fire. Everyone flees from the streets, and there’s not a trace of the cultists left when the smoke clears. Hamid says that they may not have been real. 

Azu sees that there’s a similar cowled figure in a building that they’re going past, not taking any action. She points it out to Grizzop, and Hamid says that there were three on the road in front of them. Azu points at it, but the figure is gone. Grizzop asks what they should do, but Hamid says that they should just keep going quickly.  

There’s another figure in the alleyway as they past. Grizzop thinks that it’s trying to spook them, and Hamid gets ready to cast a spell but doesn’t. Sasha puts her ice and fire daggers away and gets out cheap ones that she’s willing to throw. Azu uses detect evil in front of them, climbing out of the carriage and onto the top. Hamid says that he thinks she should stay inside, since the entire carriage is built to protect her, but Azu is distracted trying to see if there’s evil. Sasha asks how hard it is to project images from far away, and Hamid says that it’s a little bit difficult. She suggests that there might not be a wizard nearby, but Hamid says that it’s more likely that they are nearby since distance complicates things. Sasha looks around; now that she’s looking for it, there are cultists everywhere in the shadows, and she starts looking for a wizard who might be casting the spell. They pass maybe another six cultists. Sasha stands up and readies her daggers. 

In front of them, some of the sand kicking around clears, and there’s a line of about eight cultists in front of them, blocking off the entire road. Hamid casts fireball again on the cultists, and the explosion goes off. When the smoke clears, bodies appear to be there, unlike the last time. It scatters them, some on one side and some on the other. The remaining four respace themselves on the road. Hamid looks around, and notices that there are cowled figures all around them at this point, filing out in a line behind the carriage; he says that he can only cast fireball twice more. All of the cultists detect as evil to Azu.

Quotes[]

Sasha: "Let’s go, let’s go, and, it’s fine. We’ll just go. We’ll read this and then there’ll be the weird medical procedure in which I am brought back to life? Or killed. Or…"
Hamid: "It’s gonna be fine, Sasha."
Wilde: "Probably, yeah."
Sasha: "Probably fine."
Azu: "Absolutely fine."
Wilde: "I mean, it’s been a long time since…"
Grizzop: (punches Wilde in the genitals) "Shut up, Wilde."
Alex: "Wilde crumples, just down and fetal."
Grizzop: (Taps him on the top of the head) "There’s a good chap."
Azu: "What did you do that for? He’s annoying, but…"
Grizzop: "I’m really sorry about what he said, Sasha. It will be absolutely fine."
Sasha: "Alright, good. Grand, good, okay, great, yes."
Grizzop: "If you want to, I can hit the other one."
Sasha: "It’ll be fine. Good work. Yeah, um, alright, yes. Remind me not to anger you, Grizzop."
Grizzop: "Well, only when you’re antagonizing one of my friends who I care about and is gonna do something…he deserved it."
Sasha: "Thank you! Good. Right, remind me not to do anything that makes you think I deserve things."
Helen: "Azu looks at Grizzop quite disappointedly. She’s gonna pick Oscar Wilde up and sling him over her shoulder and walk out."
―Grizzop punches Wilde in the genitals.

Grizzop: "Right, so, shall we go and talk to Eren?"
Sasha: "Wait, there might be more stuff for us to find in here, it’s fine, we should probably look…"
Hamid: "I think we found what we need to. I’m pretty sure this was just an elaborate setup to distract people."
Sasha: "Okay. It’s fine."
Grizzop: "Sasha, I know you’re worried…"
Sasha: "They talked about melting me, Grizzop!"
Grizzop: "I know. Look…that’s without the heart. It’s really powerful. It literally brings people back from the dead and you’re not there yet, so…"
Alex: "Wilde, from Azu’s back, puts a really weak and shaky double thumbs up."
Grizzop: "See, even Wilde’s supporting you."
Azu: "It will be a miracle!"
―The party try to reassure Sasha that the ritual will be fine.

Azu: "Very pleased we’re going to save Sasha."
Grizzop: "Yes, absolutely. Been a long time coming."
Azu: "So…you don’t get on with Wilde, then?"
Grizzop: "You got that? No, he’s awful. It’s unfortunate that he’s our handler, but that’s how it has to be. Anyway, I’m not having him trying to…I don’t even know what he was doing, like, any decent being wouldn’t…she’s obviously scared stiff. He’s trying to antagonize her? Especially when she got this injury doing work for him! What’s wrong with that man?"
Azu: "Maybe he’s just stupid."
Grizzop: "Maybe, but he absolutely deserved what I did to him."
Azu: "Well…"
Grizzop: "Look, it’s not all about being nice. You’ve got to do what’s right. I know you Aphrodite lot are all like, “oh, let’s just give someone a hug and they’ll just get better.” Well, no, you have to be cruel as well as kind."
Azu: "Maybe you should try hugging. You’re very…"
Grizzop: "Look, if you’re worried that maybe I’m doing the wrong thing, do you know the tenants of Artemis?"
Azu: "No, I am an Aphrodite priestess."
Grizzop: "Yeah. Well, let me tell you. “Remember the slight so you may pay it back in kind.” Right? Wilde was doing a slight, and he has slighted me before and I was just paying him back. Guard the pack, so that you will succeed together. Sasha is part of our pack. So we will guard her. Wilde was doing…well. He’s not been very helpful. And he’s on the outside, for that particular situation."
Azu: "Hmmm…so did he kick you in the groin at one point?"
Grizzop: "No. He referred to me in such a way that kind of eliminated me as a person, this, it. So, I think really, I let him off lightly. Got some Aphroditean wisdom for me? Or is it just the word “hugs” about ten times."
Azu: "Well, one is not to do more harm than necessary."
Grizzop: "That’s very sensible. That’s good, I’ve learned something."
―Azu and Grizzop discuss Wilde and their religious philosophies.

Sasha: "Have you heard anything more from Barret?"
Hamid: "He let me know he was angry, and I told him to kindly leave us alone."
Sasha: "Alright."
Hamid: "It’s not the exact wording I used, but I think he got the point."
Sasha: "Good. Any clues about how he might try to murder us all? That’s generally his reaction when someone annoys him."
Hamid: "He mentioned the cult?"
Sasha: "Like, Mars?"
Hamid: "I don’t think so. He seemed to imply that he’d been keeping them away from us until now. I wonder if it’s the weird people in the hoods."
Sasha: "Well, he didn’t keep them away from us very well, sending one over."
Hamid: "Well, exactly, yeah."
Sasha: "And we took him down easy."
Hamid: "Yeah. Don’t worry, we’ll take care of anything else that comes our way."
Sasha: "Yeah, it’s fine."
―Sasha checks in on Hamid about his contact with Barret.


Dice rolls and Mechanics[]

  • Azu makes a Will save: 21
  • Everyone makes a Perception check: Grizzop gets a nat 1, Azu gets 17, Sasha gets 20, Hamid gets 19
  • Everyone makes a Perception check to search the room: Grizzop gets a 13, Azu gets 19, Sasha gets 26, Hamid gets 28
  • Sasha makes a Disable Device check on the desk drawer: 28
  • Sasha makes a Disable Device check on the desk drawer: nat 20 (34)
  • Sasha makes a Disable Device check on the desk drawer: nat 20 (34)
  • Grizzop makes an attack roll on Wilde: 24
  • Hamid makes a Perception check: 22
  • Sasha makes an Appraise check: 18
  • Hamid and Sasha make a Perception check: Hamid gets 14, Sasha gets 14
  • Hamid casts fireball on the cultists: 33 damage 
  • Azu makes a Perception check after Hamid casts fireball: 17
  • Azu rolls an Acrobatics check: 16
  • Sasha makes a Perception check: 24
  • Hamid casts fireball on the cultists: 26 damage
  • The party rolls for initiative: Hamid gets 20, Sasha gets 16, Grizzop gets 13, Azu gets 7

Plot Notes[]

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