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The Slaad Saga Part 1: The Kidnapping

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The Slaad Saga Part 1: The Kidnapping

Post by Cyker »

The Slaad Saga Part 1: The Kidnapping

Chapter 1 - The late delivery
Reylar stepped out of the rippling portal, and was somewhat surprised to find himself upside-down next to a tree.

"S-" he managed before he pancaked into the soft loamy soil of the forest bed.

Cursing under his breath at the vagarities of planar travel, he slowly got to his feet, dusting off a thin carpet of soil and twigs.


Reylar looked up - There was a kitten sitting on a branch further up the tree.

This was Nick; A slightly unusual kitten, who had been given to an unwilling Reylar some years previous, by a very eccentric lady called Grace.

"What ye be doin' up there?! We ain't got time for these games! C'mon!"

Nick looked down, "Mow!"

Reylar rolled his eyes, "It's barely ten feet!"


"Fine, look, I'll catch you!"

"Mow..." Nick replied dubiously

"O'course I'll pikin' catch ye, y' barmy furball! Jus' jump!" Reylar shot back, holding out his hands.

Nick hunched up, then bravely leapt off the branch, sailing gracefully through the air before meeting Reylar's face in a panicky whirlwind of fur and claws,

"Aaaaa!" Reylar grabbed it by the scruff of its neck and prised it off, "No claws!" he winced.

Nick retracted his claws apologetically. "Mow."

After slathering on some salve, Reylar got his bearings in the common wood and started the long walk to Brosna, with Nick riding in his pack.

The journey was surprisingly uneventful, but even so the long shadows of dusk were creeping in by the time they reached Sholo. Reylar was walking up the road towards the Sholo Wanderer, the village's only inn, when something jabbed him on the side of his head.

"What?!" he glared. Nick, was holding a short stick in his mouth, "Oh... ah, I'd forgotten about that..."

Reylar shrugged off his pack and pulled out a parcel from his pack, "'s only 6 months over due... Ahh I'm sure they won't mind."


Taking a detour, the two swung round towards an inconspicuous cave mouth. Or rather, it would be if not for the eccentric gnome tinkering in front of it.

"'ere Wizzy," the mercenary called out, "D' ye know if," hey paused to read the name on the parcel, " 'Tinc' is around?"

The gnome waved towards the cave distractedly as he fiddled with his latest contraption.

With a shrug, Reylar entered the cave, pulling out his sword and holding it aloft to light the gloom.

After pausing to let his eyes adjust, he took his first step. Behind him, he heard a loud twang and some swearing from outside. Chuckling, he moved further in, heading for the Svirfneblin stronghold of Mak'a'nor. Quickly, he spied the fork in the tunnel that led to the main gate into the deep gnome's home.

He approached it, nodding to the two guards.

"Got a deliver fer one o' ye." Reylar he stated, showing them the package. They gave it a cursory glance, before allowing him in.


Reylar entered the the gate and found himself interrupting a small meeting. He stood politely at attention and waited.

The svirfneblin quickly noticed him, and stopped talking, eyeing him with a mixture of curiosity and suspicion.

One of them approached him, "Greetings." the hooded figure said guardedly, "But shut the door behind you please."

Reylar started, but complied before offering the package up.

"'lo there cutter. Got a delivery 'ere fer one... erm... Tinc."

"I am Tinc." the hooded figure said, accepting the package, "Thank you."

"Sommat wrong? Y' all look a bit down..."

Tinc shrugged, "We are under constant attack. Spirits are low."

"Ahh... ye ought t' hire some guards or sommat." Reylar suggested, "I dun' my fair share o' guardin' in my time. I'd offer me services but I got another job on right now..."

"We shall think of you perhaps for that type of job at a later time." Tinc said, politely gesturing toward the door.

Reylar half-turned, "Say... 'fore I go, ye lot wouldn't 'ave noticed some weird goin's on lately? Slaadi on t' move an' that?"

Tinc gave him a questioning look, tilting her head to one side slightly, "I am unaware of such."

Reylar recounted the tale of the kidnapping to the assembled svirfneblin, but they clearly had matters closer to home to worry about.

Tinc nodded, "I thank you for the delivery and the information, but I really must bid you farewell." she said politely, but firmly, "Please keep us informed.".

Reylar nodded, "Aye, will do. Lady's Grace t' ye all..."

As he stepped outside and left the cave, he found the sky had darkened and the tinkerer had already gone home.

"We may as well press on. Maybe get t' Brosna before dawn?" he thought out loud stroking Nick absently.


They crossed Sholo, quickly reaching the edge of the village. As he left, he fancied hearing the sounds of battle ahead of him. As he crested the hill into the pass that led to the western-most gate of Brosna, he saw a large group of frost and fire giants fighting each other!

"I ain't got time fer this!" he lamented.

Pulling his cloak tighter to muffle his armour, he snuck down the hill, skirting the battle and passing through as quickly as he could.

Chapter 2 - An unexpected encounter
Reylar breathed a sigh of relief when he spied the large gate that led into Brosna. With Nick sleeping soundly in his pack, he crossed the threshold, giving a curt nod to the guards as he passed.

The sky was still dark, and the only light was from the torch lamps lit around the city. The city felt empty, most of its citizens already tucked up in bed. He quickly made his way towards the Bed'n'Booze, where he ran into Arleena Moonshadow, who was apparently on her way back to the temple.

"'lo there lass! 's been a while!" He quirked an eyebrow at her, "'ere, there's sommat different 'bout ye?"

"Yes, I've given up me shield, times 'a changin'!" she replied in passing.

Reylar shook his head, *Strange times indeed!* he thought as he entered the Bed'n'Booze.


Dawn came all too soon, and Reylar was soon out and about, searching for clues.

By about noon, the ridiculous enormity of the task finally sunk in, "I dun even know where these Akretes people live!" he muttered to himself.

Several people had heard of the kidnapping, but had no details beyond that. He couldn't find any trail, nor sense any recent gating activity.

"Mow..." Nick popped his head up and yawned. Reylar gently picked him up and draped him over his shoulder.

"Welp... tha' was a waste of time. I don't know wh' I was thinkin'!"

"Mow?" Nick nudged him and looked back towards the gate.

"Ahh yer right. Lets 'ead back t' Benzor."

Reylar snuck back into the temple and, when the priest wasn't looking, quickly co-opted the portal to get him back to Benzor.


As he stepped out of the gate, he was alarmed to find himself immersed in pitch blackness "Wha' t' -OW!"

There was a loud thud as he hit something very solid. Reylar found himself inside a dark cramped space. A trap!

"Careful Nick..."

Reylar heard a faint "Mow!" and felt the kitten scrabble back into his pack. He lifted his hands to reach out, but they hit something hard before he'd raised them above his waist.

There was some sort of wooden wall in front of him, and he found the space was too small for him to get at his pack, or pull out his sword; Both of which would have provided some light.

"Where in t' abyss am I?!", he muttered as he began fumbling around...

A flat wooden wall? It ran all the way round! He *was* trapped! What's this... something furry? And-OW- what? A metal rail??

"Oh fer t' love o'..."

Reylar gripped the metal rail and kicked out.

With the sound of splintering wood, the flimsy wooden doors on the closet flew open and slammed against the sides of the closet.

Extracting himself from the fur coats and other garments of dubious purpose, he exited the closet and closed the now useless door.

The room was lit by a single window, and looked to be a typical tavern room. He crossed the small room in two strides, only to find the door was locked.

Shaking his head with annoyance, he extracted some picks from his belt and deftly picked the lock.

It took him but a few moments, the lock strangely familiar somehow. With a satisfying click, the tumblers aligned and the door swung open slowly. Glancing outside, he quietly stepped out of the room into a well lit corridor, and turned to shut the door when there was well remembered sound behind him. He spun round, fumbling for his sword, as another portal rippled into existence.

"What in t' Nine...?!"

A large humanoid shape coalesced in the corridor. It was clad in heavy plate armour and carried an equally heavy sword. Reylar's eyes travelled up the 8ft frame until it reached the long elongated head, which turned to gaze at him.

"You are not the one I sought." it rumbled.

Reylar panicked, desperately looking round for a quick escape route, "I dun' know how ye followed me berk, but if ye think Kazarn Reylar's goin' t' let a giant armoured badger assassin' pen 'im in t' dead book yer mistaken!"

"Badger?" the figure bristled incredulously in a deep booming voice.

Reylar blinked, "'eh? Y' mean yer not?" he faltered.

The creature seemed to gain several inches in height, "I am an emissary from the Seven Heavens and you compare me to some verminous creature?" it bellowed.

Reylar blanched, "Oh... err ehehe... um... apologies cutter... 's jus' tha'... erm..." he faltered again, "Well, no 'ard feelin's 'eh?" he offered hopefully, with an apologetic grin.

"And yet," the creature appeared to sniff the air, "You have the smell of the planes upon you..."

"Oh aye, barely 2 days out o' Sigil me. I be investigatin' a kidnappin' down 'ere see..." Reylar paused.

"Oh? Continue." the figure boomed.

"Erm, right..."

Reylar repeated the information his contact on Sigil had given him, about the kidnapping of the child in Brosna, and the suspected involvement of the Slaadi.

He paused, suddenly eyeing the figure, "Say, what's a top-shelf proxy like yerself slummin' down 'ere anyway?" he asked guardedly.

The figure's fist tightened slightly, "We share an interest it seems..."

"We do? Hmm... so there *is* more t' this than it seemed...", Reylar muttered, frowning.

"The Slaadi are planning something. A white Slaad named Ysingrin is plotting something, he is in conflict with another of his kind.

"What ritual he is undertaking we cannot tell, but their kind rarely plot anything good..."

"Ye got that right!" Reylar said bitterly, "We got enough troubles with 'em without them plannin' some power-trip! What's t' dark o' this plan then?"

"I would guess it is something related to their conflict, but why they have focused on this mortal plane escapes even our reasoning."

"Funny y' should say tha'; I be tryin' t' find some leads but, well," he turned his empty palms up. "I dun s'ppse y' got any idea where t' biter tha' got peeled is?"

"The location of the children is masked, they must have some quasi-plane hidden from scrying."

"Limbo'd do that fer ye." Reylar sighed, "Never easy is it? So... what're ye an' yours plannin' t' do?"

"We can do little but react to their movements for now."

"Aye. Well, I'll keep me eyes open fer anythin'. Ye got anythin' y' want me t' follow up? Seein' as I'm on this job anyways..."

The figure pause, looking at Reylar intently from behind its armoured helm, "There is the one I sought... a Ranger wrapped in navy, seek her. She has the smell of the Slaad on her.", the figure turned and Reylar felt a portal form.

"Now c'mon, tha's vague even for one o' yer lot!" Reylar protested, "Ye got at least a name or description or sommat?"

The figure paused, "I do not know, I do not use names, look for one in Navy, a woman." it said before stepping through the portal.

"Bloody celestials." Reylar muttered when he was sure it was gone, "A single nameless bint in blue, no location, no description... Bah!"

He continued to fume as headed towards the only visible exit - Some stairs heading down.

As he looked down, he realised he was in Richard Uthar's inn, the Wandering Badger.

"Well, guess t' gate wasn't too far off then..."

He nodded to Priscilla as he descended the stairs, "'lo Pris. Hows business?"

Priscilla looked up at him in surprise, "Oh, Rey, I didn't know you were staying with us!" she said with a bemused expression, wiping some spilt beer off a table.

"Oh? Err... I, err, must've come before y' shift started..." he lied unconvincingly.

Priscilla shrugged and resumed cleaning the table.

"Say, y' ain't seen Rich lately 'ave ye? I wanted t' 'ave a word see..."

"Richard? You and me both! I haven't seen that waster for months!" she replied in a huff, giving the next table a particularly hard scrub.

"Ah... Erm, well thanks. I'd best be goin'..." Reylar said gingerly.

As he spoke, a young woman wearing a blue cloak entered the tavern and sat down in a corner booth, looking distractedly out the window.

Priscilla bustled over to her, "A drink miss?"

"Not yet, thank you." the woman smiled before turning back to the window.

As the waitress returned to her table cleaning duties, Reylar slowly approached the newcomer.

"No... no way," he muttered, "This' got t' be a setup... it's never this easy!"

But still he approached her, "Erm... 'lo lass..."

The woman looked at him curiously for a few moments before speaking, "Hello."

"Say, that wouldn't be a Navy cloak ye got there 'eh?"

The woman gave him a quizzical look, "Yes, it is. Why do you ask?"

"Ah. Right, me name's Kazarn Reylar." he said with a curt nod.

"Beryl." she nodded back in greeting.

Reylar took a deep breath, "I best spill t' chant - I be investigatin' a disappearance in Brosna. I 'as it on good authority tha' a basher matchin' yer description might 'elp me tumble to t' dark o' it..."

Beryl furrowed her brow at Reylar's unusual vernacular, "A disappearance? In Brosna? What disappeared?"

Reylar frowned, "Y' mean y' don't know?"

Beryl shook her head.

"Oh..." Reylar gave her an uncertain look, "It was a kid. Some top-shelf jink-shifter's."

"A child??" Beryl exclaimed.

Reylar nodded, "Aye, but that's not t' worst of it. T' dark is that t' Slaad are involved!"

"In a child's disappearance?!?" Beryl exclaimed. She paused "Slaad?!?" she cringed.

Reylar nodded, but paused mid-nod. He slowly dropped his hand to the pommel of his sword, "Ye got somethin' ye want cutter?" he asked, turning around slowly.

Standing near one of the pillars was a man wearing a helm with intricate gold embellishments, and a red cloak.

"Hello, Thrar." Beryl waved at him.


"Oh, ye know this berk lass?" Reylar glanced at her.

Beryl nodded, "I do."

Reylar relaxed, "Well... no 'arm done I guess..."

"Pardon me for eavesdropping and all." Thrar bowed slightly, "Though, the story intrigued me."

"It intrigues me, too..." Beryl said, turning back to Reylar

"So lass... ye really don't know anythin' 'bout this?"

Beryl took a deep breath, "I know nothing of a child disappearing," she began, "But I have had a few run-ins with slaad..."

Reylar questioned them both some more, but it quickly became clear neither of them knew anything about the kidnapping.

However, both were intrigued, and bade Reylar recant the tale, including the fact that his only, and mostly dead, lead was Brosna.

"I reckon we should 'ead up there together, see if we kin skeg anyth-" he suddenly stopped.

Beryl eyed him oddly as he paused mid-sentence. Her eyes widened in alarm when he grabbed his sword and dove for her.

"What in the Nine layers of the abyss-" Thrar demanded, when a swirl of air-distorting magic suddenly engulfed Beryl!

And then as quickly as it had come, things were suddenly as they were, with one exception.

"Damnit! They took 'er!" Reylar knelt in front of where Beryl had been, straining his senses to pick up the receding thread of a portal, but it was gone.

"That, was random..." Thrar blinked at where Beryl had been.

Watching Reylars antics, Thrar gingerly stepped forward, waving his hands in the recently vacated space, half expecting to hit something solid.

Finding nothing, he quickly stopped, "Well aside from making a fool of myself, nothing here."

Reylar cursed, standing.

"I never knew magic could teleport someone away without an object..." Thrar said, a little bemused, "Usually requires a spell, or something to act as a focus point."

"Not always." Reylar said absently, throwing a last look around the room.

"Magic should be avoided if you ask me, too chaotic." Thrar muttered, throwing a cursory look around, "Do you reckon she was summoned by those slaadi you were talking about?"

"Fer 'er sake, I 'ope not... C'mon, I dun reckon we'll find 'er bangin' about in 'ere..."

Reylar sheathed his sword and dashed outside, a slightly bemused Thrar in tow.

Chapter 3 - The Gathering
Outside the Wandering Badger, Sianan Rhodar was relaxing after a long journey, seated on one of the benches outside the Wandering Badger and enjoying the shade provided by the leafy tree. Sitting cross-legged on the grass to her the side was a halfling man called Zust.

"...I was...but not really in a hurry. Do you need something?" he was asking Sianan, when the tavern door suddenly burst open and two armed and armoured men burst out!

"Yikes!" the halfling jumped back in alarm, "Who are you??" he demanded.

Thrar ignored him, "I don't suppose any of you saw someone appearing from a magical portal, or disappearing?" he asked quickly.

Zust goggled at him.

"Hello Rey." Sianan said serenely, turning her head slightly and nodding in greeting.

"'lo las-uh, m'lady." Reylar corrected himself, "Sorry, but did ye see some spellslinger pass by 'ere recently?"

"No, sorry." Sianan shook her head apologetically.

"You know these two?" Zust asked incredulously, flexing his fingers.

Sianan gave him an amused grin, "Yes."

"Oh... well... that's good to know..." Zust managed, not once taking his wide eyes off the strange pair who'd just appeared in his life.

"I was talkin' with a lass... Beryl 'er name was... but jus' now she up an' vanished!" Reylar spoke quickly, glancing about as he spoke, "Some sod teleported 'er out from under our noses!"

"Oh.." Sianan said, slightly taken aback.

"She may be in some danger." Thrar added.

"Aye, 'spescially if them soddin' Slaad are involved like we reckon..."

"Greetings all!" a loud booming voice came from right next to Reylar's ear.

The warrior yelped and fell over, making Zust jump in alarm again.

As the new-comer helped Reylar back to his feet, the halfling shuffled back nervously, "Getting crowded here!" he mumbled. He threw Sianan an apologetic wave, "I think I'll go..." he said nervously. Sianan nodded understandingly, and Zust muttered a spell before disappearing.

Zust shook his head as he headed away from the bizarre gathering, "Crazy humans... not enough bloodflow to their heads!" he muttered to himself, shaking his head.

"Still jumpy as ever I see." the newcomer, Manhja Stormcrow, chuckled as he helped Reylar up.

"Damnit man, what have I said about sneakin' up on me like that?!" Reylar groused as he dusted himself off.

"Sneak?!" Manjha exclaimed incredulously, "I was so loud the gods were asking me to be quiet!"

Sianan giggled behind them.

Reylar shook his head, chuckling despite himself. " 's good t' see ye again 'tho cutter.'s been too long!" he nodded, grasping the Manjha's hand.

"Indeed it has! What are you up to these days?"

Reylar's look turned a little sour, "Ack... we're up t' spire this time an' no mistake...". Reylar quickly explained to Manjha about his investigation into the kidnapping, and Beryl's subsequent abduction.

"So what are you going to do now?" Manjha asked, concerned.

Reylar gave a resigned shrug, "I 'ad two leads - Brosna an' tha' Beryl lass - An' now both of 'em 'ave hit t' blinds..." he said disgustedly.

"So I take it neither of you saw some spellslinger come by, possibly a slaad, joinking away a woman?" Thrar repeated.

"No, sorry... I've not long come back from a walk in the valley." Sianan answered, shifting on her bench to look at them all.

Manjha conformed that he'd only just arrived at Benzor by boat.

"Well, it seems we've got more than children to find now." Thrar observed sardonically, adjusting his helm.

"Alright, so we have children abducted by slaadi, a woman abducted..." Manjha repeated, trying to get everything straight.

"Poor thing..." Sianan said softly.

"Aye... an' she must'a been jig to the dark o' sommat for them t' snatch 'er. Assumin it was them anyways..." Reylar postulated.

"True," Thrar allowed reluctantly, "But none of this gets us anywhere... we need a plan!"

Reylar sighed, "Well t' only place I know t' look was Brosna, but- Hey, what-"

Reylar's hand leapt for his sword again, Manjha and Thrar following suit as the ground trembled and, in a burst of light, another rippling vortex of energy formed in the air!

With Manjha directing them, the three warriors moved to surround the fading vortex while Sianan looked on, still but ready.

She blinked in surprise as a young woman clad in a blue cloak coalesced out of the dispersed anomaly.

"Holy..." Thrar put his weapon away, "Please don't do that again." he admonished the disoriented Beryl.

"Lass? That you?" Reylar tightened his grip on his sword, "Or are ye some sort o' doppleganger?" he demanded menacingly.

"No, I am me... I think?" Beryl said uncertainly, looking around to get her bearings.

"Oh aye? Then answer me this, or I'll run ye through! What colour's yer cloak?!"

Beryl gave him an odd look, "I told you before, its Navy!"

"Yup. It's her." Reylar put his sword away.

"What? You can tell from that?" Manjha asked, impressed.

"Aye! How many berks call blue, navy?"

Manjha rolled his eyes.

"Where did you go anyway lass?!" Reylar demanded.

"Umm... I am not certain..." Beryl stammered, trying to make sense of recent events.

"Better question would be, what happened." Thrar said, nudging Reylar to calm down.

"Sorry lass... y' okay? Was it t' Slaadi? Did they hurt ye? Sianan 'ere's a good healer. Sow'd me arm back on once!" Reylar ventured, rubbing his arm absently.

Beryl peered over to the benches, "Oh, hello, Sianan. Long time..."

Sianan smiled back warmly, "It's been a while." she agreed.

Beryl turned back to the others, "I...I am fine. Just shaken... I... There was a HUGE slaad there... Biggest one that I've ever seen. And white!"

"Did it say anything? What did it want?" Thrar asked gently, curious despite himself.

"It said a lot... and not much..." Beryl shook her head, trying to order her thoughts, "The slaadi have the children, apparently. Although I am not certain which ones he was referring to..."

Reylar gave a satisfied grunt, "So we know it's them grabbin' t' kids. Did they tumble ye to t' dark o' their plan?"

Beryl gave a confused look, "Plan?"

"Aye... they mus' be pinchin' them biters for a reason."

"Slaadi don't just abduct children to sing songs to..." Thrar nodded.

"Indeed..." Sianan agreed with a shiver.

"No. They... err..." Beryl squeezed her eyes shut, as if the effort of recall was a great one, "Damn!" she opened her eyes again.

"They are holding children, to force me to do something for them. But I have no idea what it is, yet. He- It, said I would be 'summoned' again." she paused, another memory surfacing, "He did mention something about me breaking a seal, but I know nothing beyond that."

"Are you sure you're alright?" Manjha asked, offering a reassuring hand.

"Yes, I just..." Beryl shook her head again.

"It'll be okay," Reylar said sympathetically, "'portin' messes wit' yer brain-box if yer nay used t' it. It'll get better."

"Explains a lot about you!" Manjha quipped, dodging a swipe from Reylar.

Sianan patted the bench she was on, and Beryl gratefully sat down to continue her exposition, "The seal that the slaad mentioned... they gave me some seeds six months ago. He told me that in order to make them bloom... I had to break a seal."

"Six months ago?" Manjha echoed in disbelief, "This has been going on that long?"

The others echoed their amazement.

"I have been visited by slaadi, for some time, yes." Beryl admitted uncomfortably, "They find me in odd places."

"That must mean a lot of planning has taken place, these slaadi should not be underestimated." Thrar said firmly, "You shouldn't travel alone from now on, not until this matter is resolved."

Reylar nodded is agreement.

"I don't see how anyone with her will make a difference... I mean she just popped up here." Manjha pointed out.

"With my head spinning..." muttered Beryl wryly.

"This seal you need to break... what do you know of it?" Thrar asked.

"Almost nothing," Beryl admitted, "I've not seen it. I only know that the slaad told me I need the flower from the seeds, to break this seal."

"Opening a seal for a Slaad just don't sound like something we would want to happen." Manjha said firmly.

"No, but," Beryl sagged slightly, worrying her lower lip, "If I do not do as they ask... the children will suffer."

"Then we must find a way to get the children... and keep the seal closed." Manjha sighed, "It seems we know very little. Planning a course of action will be difficult with so little to go on..."

"May we see the seeds?" Sianan asked softly.

"It has bloomed, now. Hold on..." Beryl carefully removed a tube from her pack, inside of which was a strange flower. It had an unreal appearance, as if the flower wasn't entirely there, "The slaad first gave me the seed, six months ago. Now it has blossomed, and apparently this is needed... for something to do with a seal."

Reylar peered, as the iridescent petals moved stiffly in the light breeze, "Hmm, I've not seen one like it. It has the wiff of the Planes on it 'tho." he observed.

"I've read many many books, and I've got some years of knowledge, but this flower is beyond even my knowledge." Thrar confessed, "It's possible a legend lore master might know something, or a really darn good wizard." he added.

"Galdor perhaps?" Manjha suggested, "Noril's good with magic, maybe he-"

"Noril?" Reylar eyed Manjha dubiously, "He's good wit' the dazzle, an' a decent basher t' 'ave yer back, but t' poor berk's barmier than... well, le's jus' say 'es 2 coppers short o' a forest."

Manjha frowned, "That makes no sense."

Reylar nodded, "Exactly. Aye... 's a pity Nawen Homast isn't around. Hells, I'd even risk askin' Menedhriel if she was still 'ere! 'ere, how 'bout t' Libre Arcanium?"

"In Brosna? I'd rather try here before undertaking such a long journey. We have Galdor, Malik, maybe Argyle." Manjha counted them off on his fingers.

"Percy might know something also..." Sianan volunteered.

"Who is Percy?" Beryl asked.

"Tha' potions gnome in t' market place." Reylar informed her.

Sianan nodded, "He often deals with rare ingredients."

"The bishop of life might know something as well." Thrar added.

"What about t' Hexorites?" Reylar ventured.

Manjha gave him a dark look, "If it's them in this... I will take them down."

"I know a few, but I'd prefer to talk to everyone in Benzor, afore we go to them." Thrar interjected, "I doubt the Hexorites are behind this though. It's not their style."

"Right then, lets get moving. It'll be dusk soon at this rate." Manjha said, getting up from the ground.

"Are you comin' wit' us lass?" Reylar crooked an eyebrow at Sianan.

"If you wish..." she replied with a smile.

"We would be honoured m'lady." Manjha said with a bow.

Sianan returned a smile, and moved to join the party, and together they ventured towards the Benzor East gate.

Chapter 4 - Tucker's wisdom

As the approached the gate, Beryl gave a sudden yelp.

"What is-"


Nick popped his head out from under the flap of Reylar's pack.

"Arg! Get back in there y' barmy scruff-ball!"

"And you wonder why he scratches you all the time Rey..." Sianan admonished lightly, reaching over to scratch the kittens chin, eliciting a satisfied purr.

Reylar extracted a lumpy coal-like object from one of the pack's side pockets, and offered it to Nick, who grabbed it gleefully and ducked back into the pack to eat it.

Thrar goggled at him, "... that critter eats those things?"

"Brave kitten it is." Manjha chuckled, shaking his head.

"Wow, and to think me and some lads once used those things in combination with some fireballs to blow up a cave." Thrar shook his head in disbelief.

"He seems to be able to eat anything!" Sianan told him.

"Aye," Reylar sighed, "T' little sod'll eat anything! So far, 'is favourite foods seem t' be Sianan's honey cakes and Meat Surprises.... Truth be tol', I'm scared 'e'll explode or sommat one day..."

The guards admitted them through the gate, and they found themselves on the wide flagstoned plaza in front of the East gate.

"Ok we are going to see...?" Manjha prompted.

"Lets try Percy first." Thrar suggested, "If that fails, Galdor, with his knowledge of things..."

"Jig. Lead on cutter!" Reylar nodded.

As they went west, passing by the Benzor Bank, they ran into the patrol of Captain Tucker, who paused with faint surprise.

"'lo cutter."


"Hi Captain!"

"Hello..." he replied, slightly taken aback. He looked over the group, "I-, if you're here about the investigation into the missing children, I'm afraid we're not looking for outside help just yet."

Reylar threw the others a confused look, "Missing children? I take it ye' dun mean tha' Akretes kid up Brosna way?", he asked with a sinking feeling.

The Captain looked at him with surprise, "Why, no, but we think they are related. What do you know of this?"

"Precious little." Reylar confessed, "I was investigatin' t' disappearance up in Brosna, an' I've ended up 'ere."

"Exactly how many are missing?" Thrar asked, a feeling of dread welling up.

"Two, from here in Benzor. That makes for nine in total."

The others jaws dropped, "Nine?!"

Tucker's face hardened, "Indeed, nine poor innocent souls in the hands of those cold blooded beasts..."

"You mean t' Slaadi?" Reylar asked knowingly.

Tucker nodded gravely.

"Well we're under t' Lady's shadow an' no mistake..." Reylar muttered.

"Where were they all taken from?" Sianan asked, her features as serious as Reylar had ever seen.

"They were taken from all over, two from Benzor, three from Brosna, two from Tobaro and one each from Sholo and Mulrok."

Beryl's shoulders slumped, "Damn it..."

"And nine... three three's... tha's a powerful number." Reylar muttered.

"'eh? Why?" Thrar furrowed his brow.

"T' Rule of Three cutter. But 'opefully this means there'll nay be any more kidnappin's..."

"The Rule of Three? I've never heard of it." Thrar said skeptically, "What is it?"

"'s what I said - All things 'appen in Threes. Every planeswalker knows that!"

"But then why has Beryl only got one flower?" Sianan asked.

Reylar replied with a shrug.

"This is horrible!" Beryl lamented.

"Yes, terrible business," Tucker agreed, "Galdor's flown off even!"

"What?!" Beryl exclaimed.

"Don't know what he seeks, but be assured he's working on something." Tucker nodded confidently, "Galdor has many powerful allies, but he's worried, that's for sure."

"Rightly so... this feels like it'll get a lot bigger'n if we dun' lann t' dark on this soon..." Reylar muttered.

"It seems your group is deep in this mess too. What else do you know about the kidnappings then?" the Captain asked, giving them a curious look.

"Not much more than you really. One thing we do know is that a white Slaad, larger than any seen before has kidnapped these children to use as leverage so as to compel Ber- an adventurer to break a seal." Thrar corrected himself quickly, glancing over at Beryl.

"Slaadi are powerful magical creatures. We knew they came in the night and took the children from their beds in one night, but a white? Gods..." Tucker shook his head.

"'ey, whaat's goin' on 'ere?" came the gruff voice of a dwarf from the back of the party.

Manjha turned, giving a quick explanation. The dwarf halted him mid-sentence, "Look, I can't say I get what ye talkin', about, but it sounds serious so if ye need a hand, ye got mine."

Manjha nodded, "Blessing to you good sir."

"Look, I am sorry but I need to finish my patrol. It would be bad if another child was kidnapped while I'm talking to you! But please, if you discover anything, let me, or even the Duke himself know. He has got everyone working on this, but we've got no leads whatsoever."

"Will do, Captain." Beryl said, snapping off a practised salute, which Tucker returned.

"Aye.... now, y' reckon we should find Percy before 'e gives us 't laugh too?" Reylar suggested as Tucker marched off.

As they moved off, Reylar bumped into the dwarf.

"Ack! Watch where y' goin' ye lanky idiot!"

"Sorry cutter... look, who are ye anyway?"

"Durin Foehammer. An' I apparently stumbled into a suicide mission of some sort." the dwarf muttered, looking around his new companions.

Reylar chuckled, "I reckon y'll do fine... I'm Reylar by t' way. Good t' 'ave ye on board. I know 's nary got anythin' t' do wit' ye, but still... "

"'Tis a pleasure to make yer acquaintance, Master Reylar."

The two shook hands and moved to catch off with the others.

Chapter 5 - An unfortunate event

"Potions! Potions! Only the freshest of Eyeballs in my potions!"

"Um, excuse me, sir?" Beryl tried.

"Don't accept potions made from rubbery old bat wings! Buy the best, buy from Percy Garekkin!"

"Let me try lass. Oi!" Reylar yelled.

"Hmm? Oh, sorry, what can I get you?"

"Jus' a bit o' information lad. Beryl?", Reylar signalled Beryl to talk to the gnome.

As she passed, Reylar whispered into her ear, "For Gond's sake don't let him try and buy it off you for one of his infernal potions!!"

Beryl nodded and stepped up, retrieving the tube from her pack, "Percy... might you know something of this flower?" she asked, showing Percy the flower.

The gnome put down the potion bottle he'd been waving around and peered at the flower in wonder, "Ooh, what's that?"

"I'm... not certain. We were hoping you could tell us...?" she asked hopefully.

"Sorry, not a clue." the gnome peered at it some more, "It is exquiste. I'll take it off your hands for a hundred gold!"

"No, sorry. But thanks." Beryl smiled weakly.

"Oh come now, how about two hundred? Surely you have no use for it other than ornamentation perhaps?"

Beryl glimpsed Reylar making wide No Don't gestures from behind Percy, "No, really, I must hang onto this." she explained.

"Three hundred!"

"Ah, it possibly belongs to a white slaad, you might not want to take it." Thrar interrupted.

Percy froze, blanched, "White Slaad?" he almost whispered.

Beryl nodded confirmation.

"Yeah... umm, nice talking to you... just remembered I've got something to do..." he mumbled, hastily packing up some of his alchemical equipment and making to leave.

"Hey wait, we ain't finished-gah!" Reylar tripped mid-sentence as he reached for Percy. The gnome was already ambling quickly away as Reylar crashed into the table where some half-full tubes and flasks still lay.

"That's going to leave a hefty bill." Thrar observed as he looked at the shattered glassware.

"Oh damnit Reylar!" Manjha exclaimed, pointing at the two stoppered flasks he'd flipped into the air.

They continued their graceful arc before hitting the roof of Sharen Marlson's clothes stall, where they promptly exploded.

Manjha clapped a hand over his eyes.

"Crap!" shrilled Sharen, "My bloody silks!!"

Thrar and the others quickly rushed to help put the fire out.

"Bloody idiot! Why did you do that?" the stall owner demanded when they'd finally gotten the flames under control.

"Well... I din't do it on purpose! Reylar protested.

"Maybe next time if you fall, you want to avoid a potions table." Thrar observed wryly.

"Clumsy oaf!" Sharen continued, "That's real Abizian silk you know!"

Reylar began apologizing again, when he felt something squirm in his pack.

"Mow!" Nick suddenly jumped out of Reylar's pack, jabbing him urgently before scampering towards Sianan. Reylar turned, and realised his pack was smouldering.


"What now?!" the dwarf cried in disbelief.

"AAAAH!" Thrar exclaimed, a horrific thought occurring to him.

Reylar wrenched open his pack and grabbed the smouldering food bag. It was now smoking quite alarmingly. "TAKE COVER!!" he yelled before running towards the Benzor Slums. When he got to the edge, he hurled the bag as hard as he could before diving to the hard stone floor.

"Reylar!" he heard someone cry before there was a massive explosion from some distance, followed by a light pattering of stone chips and some yelling.

With a wince, he gingerly got to his feet, checking himself for damage before slowly walking back to the others.

Manjha folded his arms, giving Reylar a knowing but reproachful look.

"Erm, sorry about that..." he muttered sheepishly.

"You're a danger to your surroundings, did you know that?" Thrar told him with a stren glare.

Reylar muttered another apology.

Thrar gave an exasperated sigh, "Oh well, Malik then?"

Beryl nodded, "Yes, lets go..." she agreed, throwing Reylar a worried look.

Reylar eyed the angry-looking stall owners, "Yess... I think that would be a good-OW!"

"Idiot!" Durin muttered, as Reylar rubbed the back of his head.

Chapter 6 - House of the magician

Beryl entered Malk's magic shop first, gazing round at the shelves stuffed with books. "Malk?" she called.

A head popped up from behind a stack of books, "Yes? Oh, hello." He put down a bookmark and closed the book he had been reading, "What was all that noise out there?" he asked absently, removing some gloves from his hands.

Reylar blushed.

"Um... Just some wild....err dogs." Beryl muttered, throwing Reylar a withering glance.

"Must have been big ones... Sounded like the Bloodwar came to town! Anyway," he flashed Beryl a smile, "What can I do for you miss?"

"Sorry to bother you," she began, removing the flower from the tube, "But have you ever seen anything like this?"

Malk stuck a jewellers glass in one eye and and looked at the flower, "Interesting... may I miss?"

"May you what?" Beryl blinked at him.

"Examine the flower."

"Oh, yes, sorry." Bery said, handing Malk the flower gently.

The mage turned it slowly, looking at it from all angles before setting it gently between two crystal spheres, where it floated in the air.

Flexing his fingers, he raised his hands, weaving them in a complex pattern and chanting some arcane words.

The space around the flower seemed to flex, and grow brighter, but the flower didn't change at all.

Malk frowned, "Very odd...never seen that before..."

"What?" Beryl asked, peering at the floating flower.

Malk turned to her, "It's beyond my knowledge, I am sorry." he said with a bow.

Beryl sighed, "Thank you anyway."

"Fat lot of good that did us!" Durin muttered with a snort.

Beryl looked at the others, "What now?"

"What about the library in Brosna?" Sianan suggested.

"Yes, you could try the Libur. That would be the best place probably. Zoroster has quite a wide area of experience - I'm sure he could help you."

Beryl nodded, "Thank you."

"Hey Sianan," Reylar nudged her quietly.


"Do you 'ave any spare robes or somethin' on ye?"

"No, they're at home." She gave Reylar a puzzled look, "Why?"

"No reason." Reylar said quickly, donning his helmet and closing the face plate before following Manjha out the door.

"To Brosna huh?" Thrar asked Beryl as he stepped outside.

"Yup" Beryl affirmed.

"Brosna might be a good place right about now..." Manjha observed, glancing at the market square. Two guards were slowly making their way toward the still-smoldering clothes stall.

"Yess..." Reylar said, voice muffled by his helmet, "Now lets go before... what?"

A robed man had shuffled up to them, "Ah, my lady!" he breathed, bowing to Sianan.

Sianan nodded back, "Your Grace."

"Blazes, what are you doing here? Did something happen in Trondor?" Thrar exclaimed.

"The priest needs you in the temple, now!" the robed man told Sianan, clearly agitated.

"Of course, at once!" Sianan said immediately, "What's happened?"

"Your healing skills are needed, several farmers were hurt by big cats." the cleric explained, "They were after the livestock..."

"I can help with that..." Thrar pointed out.

Sianan turned to the others, "Forgive me but I must go..."

"Fine, we'll go wit' ye t' Trondor an' then head t' Brosna." said Reylar.

"We must make haste my lady!" the cleric said urgently.

"Sorry Cleric I'm going to tag along I'm afraid-" Thrar began, but Sianan put a hand on his arm.

"I'll be fine Thrar..." she looked at the others, "You must all carry on with the task laid before you... just keep me informed please."

Manjha bowed, "As you wish my lady. Please, be safe."

Sianan smiled, then, with a curt nod to the robed man, the two wove through the market and disappeared into the crowd, heading towards the pier that would take them both to Trondor.

Reylar looked around, agitated, "I think we should go too...". He cringed as the two guards finally arrived at the clothes stall, where Sharen was no doubt retelling an inflated tale of recent unfortunate events.

"Alright let's go." Thrar said, heading towards the Brosna pier.

"Are you coming, Reylar?" the dwarf paused, nudging the distracted Reylar.

"SHHHH!!!" Reylar hissed urgently, looking around worridly.

Durin rolled his eyes, in exasperation, "Kuncklehead." he muttered.


As they approached the docks, they were intercepted by Tucker, "Hey! You people!" he called, approaching the back of the party where Reylar was.

Reylar nodded nervously, "Goo- uh, Good day Sir Tucker." he said in a deep voice.

Tucker eyed him oddly, "Look, did any of you see a man in purple? We have reports that some lunatic tried to burn down one of the stalls in the market, and then blew up a derelict house in the Slums."

Reylar swallowed, "Oh Really? How Terrible!"

"Ye gods, this is all I need." Tucker muttered shaking his head, "As if I didn't have enough trouble to deal with!"

"Well actually-" Manjha began.

"Yes," Reylar interrupted, continuing in his deep voice, "We uh... saw him go... that way." he pointed towards the slums.

"The Slums you say?" Tucker gave him another odd look, "Are you sure?"

"Oh yes. I hope you Catch the Barm-uh Nasty Criminal ... Erm. OhLookAtTheTimeMustDashToodles." Reylar muttered quickly, shoving Manjha, who seemed to be having mild convulsions, onto the boat.

Tucker watched the boat as it pulled out of the harbour, "That Reylar is one strange fellow." he muttered to his half-ork subordinate Vruralg, "Must be all that gate travel or something."

"Yuz gut dat right.", Vruralg replied.

Chapter 7 - Brosna and the Libre Arcanum

"You took off awfully quickly." Durin snickered as they started their journey around the bottom of the landmass towards Brosna.

"Ha bloody ha." Reylar muttered.

"But Rey," Manjha was still choking back his laughter, "That's got to be the worst attempt at disguising your voice I've ever heard. You sounded like you had a cold and yer voice was breakin' or sommat!"

Beryl made her way towards the bridge, where the captain was looking out over the sea with a telescope.

"How long before we reach Brosna sir?" she asked.

"We've picked up a good wind, so before days end tomorrow I should think."


True to his word, the captain was steering his boat into the Brosna harbour just after noon, and the group quickly debarked from the ship.

"Ugh... 'ah 'ate boats." Durin mumbled, looking decidedly worse for wear.

"Right, where's the Library?" Beryl asked.

"That way somewheres." Reylar said, pointing towards the Brosna court house.

"I know the way," Thrar said, "Follow me."

"Ugh, I'll catch up lad, jus' got t'..." Reylar fiddled with his cloak and armour, trying to get it back on properly.

With a shrug, the group followed Thrar into the Libre Arcanum.

Thrar shoved the door open and strode confidently up to Zoroster, the custodian, "Greetings good sir, would you perhaps have any books we could peruse?"

Zoroster blinked at him, then narrowed his eyes, "No. Sorry."

"Wha'? What kind of a library doesn't deal in books?" Durin exclaimed.

"Books, records, just something I can read..." Thrar tried.


"Then what do ye deal in then?!" Durin's face reddened with annoyance.

"Why, rare narcotics of course!"

"Y' what?" Reylar blinked as he came in.

"What kind of idiot comes to a library and asks if we have books?!" Zoroster cried, "Of course we have books! Years of travelling the lands, some of them not even of this plane, and I'm reduced to speaking to complete nincompoops..."

"Now wait there one second!" Thrar bristled, "If you'd let me finish, I was after a specific type of book."

"Yes yes, I haven't got all day!"

"I want one on herbs and plants, both from this plane, and other planes. If you have such books." he added condescendingly.

"One on herbs and plants? We have several herbalists, not to mention botanists and the general wizardly interests in rare reagents." he pointed, "We have whole walls of books on herbs!"

"Sounds like a all nighter... But before I dive into the books, maybe you can help?" Thrar gestured to Beryl.

"If I must lead the blind..." Zoroster sighed theatrically.

"Sir? Perhaps you might recognize this?" she said, holding up the protective tube and gently taking the flower out.

The custodian paused, his manner altering markedly, "That flower..." he muttered in wonder and amazement, "Fascinating..."

"Yes? You know what it is?" Beryl asked hopefully.

"Yes it is from a Fire Prism." he shook his head, chuckling, "A Fire Prism flower here in this library?"

"Fire...Prism...?" Beryl echoed.

After looking at it for a few more seconds, he handed it back to Beryl, "Well! You have surprised an ancient Elven mage today...that is no mean feat! I must ask: How did you come by a flower that is normally only found on the third level of Hell?"

"This I would like to know as well." Durin added, eyeing Beryl with curiosity.

"Third... level... of Hell." Beryl echoed dully.

Reylar stared in disbelief, "*That* came from Minauros?!"

"Mini-whu?" Durin glanced at him.

"Minauros," Reylar repeated, "Third level of Baator. Bad place. Ye can't even go there wit' out one o' Koraf's magic suits or ye'll choke t' death on t' foul air, or 'ave yer armour an' flesh melted off by t' acid rain..."

"And this thing grows there?!" Durin uttered incredulously.

Reylar shrugged, "N'er saw one meself. But then I din't stick around long y'know?"

"Yes yes yes, this is all very boring." Zoroster interrupted, "How did you get one?"

Beryl took a deep breath, "Well, I was given some a seed six months ago... it has now blossomed." she indicated the flower.

"Fascinating... What did you do to germinate these seeds?"

"Well... nothing. I just had them in my pack..."

The custodian stroked his beard, "There must be something about you then that caused them to grow... but what?"

"Well, the slaad mentioned I am an earth mother. I think he meant that I am a ranger." she added.

"Ah...", the wizard furrowed his brow, "But why do you talk of Slaad?"

"That is where I got the seed." Beryl explained, "A Slaad Lord gave it to me, one night in the Underdark..."

"Some Slaad kidnapped children, nine in total, and used them as leverage to force us, well, Beryl, to break some sort of a seal apparently." Thrar added helpfully.

"They gave you the seed? So...they obviously needed the flower but were unable to cultivate it themselves." Zoroster started pacing up and down, apparently in thought, "This is obviously linked to the kidnappings, but... how? Why the flower?"

"I do not know about the flower," Beryl admitted, "That is partly why we are here... But they have taken the force my cooperation."

"I want t' dark on this Seal ye keep mentionin'..."

"Yes, the white slaad mentioned a seal to be broken, by this flower..."

"A White? Gods..." the custodian stopped pacing, "It's obviously something big if a White is involved... Fine."

"Wait, what?"

"You must leave. I am closing the Library."


"I must seek an audience with the Duke immediately and repeat what you have told me. Go find an inn to stay at, then return tomorrow. I shall have more to tell you then."

"Aye, I should return to The Construct an' tell t' ol' man what I've learned too." Reylar nodded, "Lady's Grace t' ye all. I shall meet y' again tomorrow."

In agreement, the party split abruptly, with the majority heading towards the nearest inn...

"Remember! Meet here tomorrow!" Reylar called after them as they departed, before heading towards the temple...

to be continued...
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Location: Michigan

Re: The Slaad Saga Part 1: The Kidnapping

Post by berylgreen »

//This was so well-written. I miss Cyker. And DM Faust, the evil mastermind behind the Slaadi saga. :shock:
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