Thursday, January 21, 2010

Episode 8: Getting Away With... Murder?

In the early morning just after dawn, a note was left on DCM’s front door: “Meet me at the circus. Ask for Rodant. Be a good elephant and bring your trunk. TT”

It appeared that the Tookah was ready to come out from hiding and close the pearwood deal, so after hearty breakfasts, quiet meditation and a few #2s at the Iron Stoat, the gang set out for Amos Andy’s Circus for Underprivileged Children.

The circus was quiet when they arrived, and were soon greeted by Luigi Pantaloon, the circus’ resident strongman. After an animated exchange, Luigi introduced them to Rodant Kapoor, a short, sneaky sort of person with a big nose, whiskery moustache, two large buckteeth and a long, ratlike tail. He beckoned the group to follow him to yon Tent of the Stench Kow, Fearsome Cattle of the Nine Hells!

As the group followed Kapoor, Takemiya fell back and circled around the tent, donning the Helm of Telepathy. He began to concentrate on the group entering the tent as well as the three beings already within. At first he was hit with a wave of nausea, drunkenness and strange, gnomish thoughts. But then he hit upon a stark raving sober mind deep within the recesses of the massive tent.

Inside, the group found the Tookah had morphed into the form of a Stench Kow, and other than being utterly sober and in danger of being mounted by “El Gordo”, he was grateful to be alive. He hired DCM to find out why Harry Dimples was murdered, and DCM in turn brought him in on a plan to frame Ragnar’s corpse for both Harry and Pomegranate Shen’s murder…

This was just about the time that Takemiya detected a murderous presence outside the tent. Warning his colleagues in the nick of time, he allowed Saladin to cast a Gust of Wind spell, opening a tent flap and revealing a curiously-colored tiger...

Luckily, a drunken guido lept to action, knocking out a tooth and rendering the cat unconscious. Iryien then spied a curious onlooker and gave chase, only to lose her quarry in the woods, a most embarrassing situation for a Ranger. The spectre of her overly critical mother didn't help matters much.

Xoe then paid a visit to Ben Firenze. He illuminated her on the status of a number of the items they recovered from the Hammer of Grapthar, not least of which were a cursed Gem of Rotting and a Ring of Delusion. He also informed her that the ‘lacrosse stick’ they’d been carrying was indeed of devilish origin, but not inherently dangerous.

Ben then learned of DCM’s involvement with Marguerite and the attempt on the Obelisk. Ben voiced concern that someone was trying to gather items that may be phylacteries of Loca’Luongo, the Left-Leaning Lizardman Lich of Lungfish Island. He revealed that he has discovered two such items, a portrait of King Vespasian Balderacchi of Egalugabulus and the famed Salt Cellar of Queen Nix. Both items were in Loca’Luongo’s inner chamber when he was discorporated by a band of adventurers two centuries ago. Ben then went on to explain that there were most likely six and a half of these phylacteries, as six –and-one-half was the most significant number in the Lizardman cosmogony.

Ben also revealed that a Gem of Recording had been found on Harry’s body, and it may very well provide a link between Ragnar, Count Fundus and the shady underground figure, Chang Kai Eel. Xoe immediately began thinking about her date later that night…

Meanwhile, DCM had hauled the rank and decayed corpse of Ragnar (hereafter referred to as The Dwarf Burrito) out to Pancreas Point in the dingy “Mini Pearl”. Takemiya and Kobayashi had arrived hours earlier in order to stake out the point and from a bluff overlooking the strait, the pair watched a sedan chair carrying the Tookah arrive. The Tookah emerged carrying a lamp and signaled to the Mini Pearl who came ashore and executed the dark and grisly trade.

The deed done, both parties were about to return the way they’d come when Kobayashi’s Detect Harmony spell revealed a great disturbance coming from above. A hail of flaming arrows rained out of the night sky, and while Holth quite bravely too a flaming arrow to the chest, the Tookah suffered a direct hit and exploded in a shower of sparks, skin and suction cups. Xeno nobly leapt to the defense of one and all, hurling a ball of fiery death into the sky. It impacted on the hull of a strange Spelljamming vessel, one whose silhouette took on a vaguely shelled & betentacled appearance…

The fireball caught the ship’s attention alright, and it soon made to retreat from the fray but not before an unseen bowman delivered a message via non-flaming arrow: “We want the Tree”.

With that the ship disappeared, leaving nothing but a smoldering dingy and a strong odor of fried calamari. The members of DCM were left on Pancreas Point pondering the pieces of the puzzle that they were now a part. Of.

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