APoF 53: The Unburnt
After catching their breath and briefly discussing their reasons for embarking on this quest to destroy an entire empire, Magpie decides to seek out the elderly man who produced the magical twine that played an instrumental role in bringing down the primal fire's avatar. With the rest of the party following them, Magpie descends into the network of tunnels underneath Hururunu'oa that the osk rangers had led them through. They find the cave but arrive too late to save the elderly man, though they are able to retrieve a small length of the magical twine and are able to obtain at least a little bit of information with regard to the enchanted spinning wheel that was used to create the twine.
The group decides to explore the cave system and spend a few hours stalking through the tunnels, finding evidence that the osk rangers had not been the only members of their group and that they had been forced into a more and more restricted section of the cave system by magma elementals that emerged in the caves and ultimately killed others of their number. Once it becomes clear that there is no more to be gained, the group returns to the surface and retires for the evening, taking a much-deserved and much-needed respite after the events of the day.
During the night watch the group notices a plume of smoke far in the distance, in the direction from which they came. Though initially they think it may just be a random fire, hours into their journey the next day reveals that the smoke was likely produced by a caravan traveling down the East Imperial Highroad.
As the caravan approaches, the group realizes that it is transporting not mercantile goods but rather nobles, likely on their way to the celebration at the capital. Despite protest from members of the group, a plan is put in motion to set upon the caravan. The initial intentions of talking are quickly tossed aside when the caravan refuses to stop, threatening to trample Ailos in its wake. Ailos creates a shimmering wall of light that is quickly dispelled as Ingvar walks toward the caravan in an attempt to stop it. It is Magpie, however, who conjures a mighty conflagration to take down the front riders that stops the caravan in its tracks.
When it becomes clear that diplomacy is no longer an option, the party joins combat. Sadida, who did not want to be involved in the first place, ends the encounter with a well-placed barrage conjured from a single stone. The spell tears through the mercenaries, who weren't a threat to begin with, and tears the carriages, and the nobles within, who lacked magical protection, to shreds. After retrieving anything and everything of value from the carnage, the party cleans off the road and sets fire to the evidence of their wrongdoing.
Later on in the day, as the sun is setting, the party happens upon a small village along the road which appears to have suffered similar damage to Hururunu'oa. The homes are burnt and the fields have been turned to ash. It is here that they spend the night, but before they retire for the evening a somber discussion about the events of the day is held, and a tentative commitment to reigning in worst impulses is made. The next day leads the group to another abandoned village, one less beset by fire. The next day takes them to another, a village that appears to have been altogether abandoned for no cause, as the homes are still intact, and the fields bear plentiful crops.
It is Magpie who suggests that the villagers have fled to the larger cities nearby, and their arrival at Amano'e four days later confirms the hypothesis. The group finds a tent city erected outside the walls of Amano'e, filled to the brim with refugees from Hururunu'oa, many of whom still suffering from the injuries they sustained the night the primal fire's avatar descended upon their city. Feeling a need to help, Magpie seeks out the leader of the relief efforts, Roth and Ailos following behind them, and offer their services. Tehenua, a cleric of the River Maiden, a local goddess, is thankful for their generous offer, especially after Magpie, without second thought, donates a thousand silver pieces to the cause.
Ailos is sent to the city to purchase additional medical supplies and enters behind Sadida, Broknard, and Ingvar. What they find is a city in tension, a populace that is afraid and suspicious, and a mysteriously gutted garrison due to the soldiers being pulled north. After visiting the general store and getting little in the way of medical supplies, Ailos heads to the Sagehearth where the Sage, the local wise man, is brewing medicine that will not be ready for some time. Ailos, using money that had been given him by Magpie, buys the whole stock and leaves the rest of the sizable amount for the maintenance of the building.
Outside the city walls, Magpie notices a symbol they taught their apprentices. They come to find Sunshine, Droplet, and Wrunggull, the apprentices assigned to Hururunu'oa to help the cause of the rebellion. Droplet is injured as a result of his efforts to get Sunshine, Wrunggull, and a small child out of the city. They have not been in contact with the three that were assigned to Amano'e. Magpie brings in Theris to help cure Droplet.
Magpie enters the city and seeks out the three apprentices, Twiceleft, Slackjaw, and Burnttongue, assigned to Amano'e and finds them before long, noting with disappointment the time it takes them to notice their presence. Magpie receives a debriefing from the apprentices and finds that the townsfolk are poised on the edge, and that tension makes things ripe for sedition, but is informed that a wrong move might turn the townsfolk against the refugees instead of against the empire. Magpie agrees and tells the apprentices to keep thinking of a plan of action.
Ailos and the rest head to the Hale and Hearthy, the local inn, where they learn that Amano'e has a history of being attacked by mountain tribes and that the sudden gutting of the garrison is causing a lot of fear among the populace. While there they secure rooms and food and drink, only to find that produce, meat, and bread are in short supply. After the rest of the group trickles in, the party realizes that the nobles of Amano'e are spreading rumors about the refugees secretly meaning harm to the people of the town.
Incensed, Magpie stalks off on their own to see if they can do anything about the situation. Upon arriving at the Hedgerow, they find the place infuriatingly protected. But a cursory examination of the closed community and the nobles inside, they realize that the nobles must have food stores separate from the town, which plants the seeds of a plan that is sure to set the city alight. Magpie visits their apprentices, both within and without the city, informing them of their plans, before returning to the inn and briefing the party.
With a rough idea of what they will do next, the party beds for the evening to prepare for tumultuous days ahead.
- 200 silver pieces from the corpses of rangers in the caves beneath Hururunu'oa
- 1200 silver pieces from the Tatahuane carriages
- ~2600 silver pieces worth of jewelry from the Tatahuane caravan
Character(s) interacted with
- Found the corpse of Tolua, the creator of the magical twine that bound the primal fire's avatar.
- Encountered and slaughtered the caravan of the Tatahuane, a noble family from southern Shatterspear, who built their wealth on the lumber trade.
- Offered their assistance to Tehenua, who is in charge of relief efforts for the refugees outside the walls of Amano'e.
- Magpie found Sunshine, Droplet, and Wrunggull, the apprentices assigned to help the effort in Hururunu'oa.
- Magpie found Twiceleft, Slackjaw, and Burnttongue, the apprentices assigned to help the effort in Amano'e.
- Sadida, Ailos, Ingvar, and Broknard visited the Sage to purchase medicines.