S1 E45: The Masked Stranger
In which the gang fairly ruins a perfectly good play in the course of saving the world.
- The gang returns to the Theatre of Mysteries at night, passing a few shabby survivors who keep their distance in the rubble of the city. They buy tickets and proceed through the door well before the doors are 'officially' open but no one seems to mind. The performers and stage manager are dedicated to their craft. They see a number of hand-inked posters advertising their various plays, made with no small amount of skill, including The Masked Stranger, which is to be performed tonight.
- They take their seats near the middle of the front section, near the empty orchestra pit where a single Kenku handles all the music and sound effects. Another Kenku is on the balcony managing the curtain and lights, using a small Gnomish device that Cind, joining him on the balcony, gets a good look at. At first the play is wholesome, almost comical, a story of a stranger who comes to town being rejected because he evidently threatens to make the rest of them into better people; the play is very metaphorical and hard to follow, as the troupe has very little by way of costumes or staging, and can only use the sounds they've heard rather than their own voices.
- As the play proceeds, the tone changes dramatically and where they had had the sounds of children laughing, and people singing in the temples and enjoying life, instead there are the clangs of swords, the shouts of soldiers, and the screams of women and children as the city is destroyed. Begging for mercy is silenced, babies' screams of terror are cut short by the slash of Realm swords. The stories that this city was evacuated, and burned itself in a controlled fashion to deny the Empire of Spice and Silk a means of resupply, are clearly false because the only voices in command are speaking the native Common; the Realm destroyed the city before the Empire could, in the hopes of driving the battle to the other side of the mountains. In fact, the ploy failed, and the battle of Black Snow ensued, which the Kenku also recorded in their voices. Evidently their ancestors were eyewitnesses and passed these sounds on to their children, who continued up the chain for perhaps four or five generations to the Theatre of Mystery of today.
- The gang makes it until a little after the first intermission before goading the Eye of Fear and Flame into a pitched battle. The performers continue to put on the play without pause through the half-minute or so of actual fighting. Damocles is destroyed and his Pearl-Eye removed, though some portion of his essence seems to remain in communication with Blizzard, who was the only one hit from an attack from his other gem-eye. The heroes also find a bag filled with broken Holy Symbols, more than sixty of them all told, with few duplicates. A couple of these are from Aot's Salvation.
- Armed with the Pearl of Wisdom (which conforms to the stats of a Wand of Fear), they seek additional tactical advice from Fremont, the awakened cat living in a Skeleton's ribcage, and gameplan getting into their compound to deliver the Pearl of Wisdom to the Sun's Root, which is in turn the tall stump of an ancient goldenwood tree that had been sacred to Nylea, and was chopped down and stolen by Aot's Salvation. Fremont provides them with a simple map of the layout of the place, as best as they remember it - though when they were last in the compound is not clear.
- 50 Platinum
- 60 gold
- Bag of broken holy symbols
- Pearl of Wisdom (same stats as a Wand of Fear)
- The Theatre of Mystery
- The Warning of Damocles
Character(s) interacted with
- The Theatre of Mystery