Starvale Adventures: A Prelude to Darkness – Chapter 21

A few days later as the sun finally sets in the west, everyone is settling down for one last beverage. Whittlee, one of Freia’s daughters, sees to the late-night crowd. Her startlingly white hair is pulled back in a tight braid. She expertly serves pots of tea, tankards of ale, flagons of wine, and other assorted mugs and cups to Rowan’s raucous playing.

The door to the Boiling Kettle opens, revealing a worried-looking gnome. He wears patchwork clothes and wrings a floppy hat nervously in his calloused hands. He peers around the room pensively, until his eyes focus on the table where Sebastian, Tallisk, Hajima and Tuskor are sitting. He quickly walks toward them, ignoring the stares and whispered jibes from some of the other patrons.

“Are you adventurers? My little girl is in terrible trouble. Will you hear my story? I can pay!”

Tallisk’s ears prick up at the magic word ‘pay’ and she turns from where she was trying to teach Blaizette how to make twin circles with juggling balls, an easy smile on her freckled face. “Come now fella me lad, pull up a chair an tell us a yer woes. Mayhap we can be a some small assistance.

“Whittlee cn you get this young gentleman a drink? One last one fer me also of ya’d be so kind.” Tallisk says with a wave and a grin.

“That’ll be on your tab I assume?” The Halfling maid asks with a raised eyebrow.

“Nay, tonight I can pay!” She says extravagantly, handing over a handful of copper coins from tips she got while juggling during Rowan’s performance, far more than the price of a couple of drinks but not nearly enough to cover her extensive tab.

Mollified, the white haired halfing maid makes her way to fetch the libations and Tallisk turns toward the gnome, lighting a cigar.  “Now then, boyo why don’t ya tell us what we cn do fer ya?”

It’s been a particularly long set, and Rowan begins to think that it’s time to wind things down. She sees the worried little gnome enter the tavern. Strange to see such a one arrive so late, and when she sees him look around and head to join her friends, a thrill of excitement and concern goes through her. She strums a few more bars and ends her song, gently putting her cittern away. Scattered groans of disappointment mingle with claps of appreciation.

Rowan bows extravagantly, “Thank you all, for an excellent night! For now, I need a little food and a little drink.” Smiles to herself at the friendly banter with the crowd. She truly does feel at home here. Still smiling, she grabs a seat at her friend’s table. “Greetings, gentle sir. You look like you can use our help.”

Sebastian is nursing his clay mug of hard liquor. He is seen writing down his impressions of the blue Dragon dagger.  He has also been working with a coil of knotted silk rope, practicing some kind of magic with it. It will uncoil itself and rise into the air. Once the length of is perpendicular to the floor it stops moving. However, when Sebastian tests how well it is anchored to its invisible tether it seems to continually pull free.  Instead of seeming to be frustrated it appears Sebastian is methodical in his approach and each time he tries he seems to take copious detail oriented notes.

Sebastian obviously missed the beginning of the Gnomes story speaks up. “Rowan, who’s this guy? A friend of yours? Can I buy you a drink my good sir. It appears you may need it.”

“Hi Sebastian,” Rowan smiles up at her friend. “Apparently this good gentle needs help for his daughter, but that’s all I know.” She turns back to the gnome, “How can we help you, then?”

Hajima sits back in his chair, enjoying the fine cigar and a pint of cool Dwarven ale. A week of guard duty and extra hours in the sparring ring and the shooting range with his fellow Lords Alliance brothers have left him stiff and sore. He feels good though. Better than he has in a long time.

He belongs somewhere again. He has friends that he can depend on when things get tough. And they depend on him. His life has meaning. His skills have a purpose. He smiles to himself and takes a long drag on the cigar again. He reminds himself find out where Tallisk gets these things.

His mind sharpens, fighting away the mildly narcotic fog of the cigar as he leans forward to address the gnome. “We will certainly help you. Just tell us what happened and where she is now. We’ll handle the rest.”

“I am Rillo.  Rillo Leadstopper.  It’s my daughter you see… Villonah.”  He wipes a tear from the corner of his eye with a rag that leaves a dark smear behind, “Her mother died last year and my little Villonah went wild with grief.  She ran off with that worthless Rak and has been running from the Starshield Guard ever since.

“Most of her crimes were just minor offenses.”  Rillo continues, “I paid her fines and she had to spend some time in jail, but last night she was taken!  The Starshield guard came to our home, clapped her in manacles and led her off without even bothering to charge her with a crime!

“I went to the castle to attempt to pay her fines and secure her release but they told me she wasn’t there.  I went to the lower street jail and they didn’t have a record of her either.”  He says, his voice rising as he recounts his tale.  “I called in every favor I had bribing guards and talking to cutpurses in seedy parts of town but nobody knew anything.”

He pauses, taking a deep breath and letting it out slowly.  “At my wits end, I was sitting on a curb in a not so good part of town when I was approached by a street urchin who told me he might have some information if I had some silver.  I gave him gold and he told me that there was a … secret prison.  A place where a small group of the Starshield Guards take prisoners for unsavory things.  Torture.  Rape.  Murder.  Things they don’t want their superiors to know about.”

Rillo’s voice breaks, “He told me that my daughter had stolen from them and had been taken there.  Please, I’ll give you everything I have just to get my little Villonah back.”

Tallisk leans forward, slapping a fist down hard on the table, her relaxed cheer evaporating like morning most. “Give me the location, if you have it or else the names of those who have provided you with this information.”

Suddenly realizing that she has broken character, she tosses her flaming hair back over her shoulder and pretends not to notice the dainty fist shaped dent in the table. She quickly slides a platter holding salt and spices over it, but not before it is obvious to anyone watching.

“Ah that is th more information ya give us th more likely it’ll be tha we cn help yer girl.  Ye ken?”  She says, her former rage only present in the flat jade of her eyes.  Taking a deep drag on her cigar, she visibly relaxes, or forces herself to seem more relaxed at any rate.

Looking guiltily around, she blushes, a slave to her complexion. “I dinne take th harmin’ a children light like.” She mumbles, looking down. Her hair tumbles over her face, but her green eyes still flash with anger behind the auburn curtain.

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Starvale Adventures: A Prelude to Darkness – Chapter 20

Rowan sighs an enormous sigh of relief. She bends down to the villagers who were in the circle, to see if anyone is harmed enough to need healing magic.

Since she doesn’t have any healing skills, Tallisk instead scans the crowd for anyone who isn’t acting like the others. She finds it hard to believe that two people would have been able to cause this much chaos. She can’t help but escape the feeling that someone else must be involved. Her fingers twitch nervously and she pulls out one of the short, stubby cigars she keeps in her belt pouch, lighting it with an efficient spark of flint and steel.  In spite of her scrutiny, if there were any other accomplices they have fled the scene.

Rowan heals the first man to be struck by the lightning, and he wakes… “Where am I? What happened?” He mumbles, until, slowly memory comes back. The half orc comes over, interested in what the man has to say.

Sebastian also, as a trained combat medic, performs first aid and then tells everyone to get moving before the guards show. “The guards here are often corrupted and may blame us for what they feel is an inconvenience at best or an attack upon the city at worst.”  He mutters darkly, helping to get folk back on their feet.

Rowan helps to get everyone back into the relative safety of the inn. She goes over to the table where this all began, and looks at where the dragon’s tooth first dropped. Finding glass shards with traces of Safflower oil on them, she whistles a short tune and the tiny bits of glass whirl around in a tiny dance resolving themselves into a jar just large enough for the tooth to have fit inside.  A brief search reveals a cork and she hands the repaired vial over to Sebastian with a grin.

Tallisk goes a bit wide eyed at the brazen display of magic, not being used to seeing such, but quickly masks her shock and busies herself picking up and ‘rescuing’ some ‘orphan’ mugs of ale.  Anyone showing that much magical power on the streets where she had grown up would have been snatched up by one criminal organization or another.  She shudders, the dark deeds that sent her running from Denoria surfacing briefly before she can drown them with a few swallows of ale.

“Please, leave the broken furniture.”  Rowan is saying to Madame Freia, “I should be able to repair them for you with magic, but for now, I must see what we can learn about what happened so that it does not happen again.”

Rowan, noticing Tallisk surreptitiously watching her, smiles widely and holds out her hand. “Oh, hello! My name is Rowan. I saw how you rushed to help. Well done! Please join us if you wish. We intend to unravel this mystery, and you seem a talented person to have around. Perhaps you can help us figure it out, and continue to keep these fine folk safe.”

“Ah, well, thank ya quite kindly.  M name’s Tallisk an I confess tha kinda action were a bit… Out a th ordinary fer me. I’d as soon sit, listening ta songs a daring do then dare ta do em myself.” Tallisk blushes slightly and looks down, her hair falling over her face for a moment.  She covers her embarrassment by swilling the last of the ale in her mug.

Rowan looks reflective a moment. “Honestly, though I’ve only been here a few weeks, I’ve come to consider this tavern a home away from home. These are kind people, and,” her face briefly takes on a fiercely protective look, “I find myself quite angry that anyone would threaten them!”

Her fierce look fades into a soft smile as she looks affectionately over at her friends who’ve started to gather at the table. And anyone watching the two might note the oddity of two fiery red-haired, green-eyed, freckled women who could not be more different in spite of some of their physical likeness.

Rowan’s naturally bubbly nature is hard to stifle, and she quickly smiles again. “Ah, but they are safe for the moment, and that is what matters today.” She smiles broadly, and goes to get her cittern, looking back at Tallisk to follow. When the woman hesitates, Rowan gestures with her head, “C’mon then, we may need your help again if this rascally tooth decides to awaken again.” She winks at her new acquaintance and settles in to quickly tune her instrument and begin to softly play.

“How’d ya know about this artifact in th first place? Knowledge a tha nature be dangerous and rare indeed.” The cigar in Tallisk’s dainty looking hand smells of clove and myrrh.  She leans back to blow a series of perfect smoke rings at the ceiling.

Tallisk notices Hajima watching her smoke with undisguised envy. “Would ya like one … ah…”  She trails off, realizing she doesn’t know his name.

“I am Hajima Jom.”  He says in his low, steady voice.  She glances beneath the wide brim of his hat and the intensity of his eyes causes her to look away quickly.  “Sure, a bit a smoke after a tussle’s always good.”

Hajima takes the cigar, smelling the pungent aroma of poppy resin mixed with the tobacco and spices. Tallisk returns his questioning look with a level one, as if to dare him to comment.  Lighting it with a practiced flourish, he takes a few puffs to get it started and leans back with a contented sigh. “My thanks lady Tallisk. It’s been a mighty long time since I last had one of these. Almost back to my soldiering days.”

Tallisk seems to relax, favoring him with an easy smile. “I ain’t no Lady, an I ain’t no hero sure an I ain’t.”

“I think it’s time we had another chat with our half-orc friend and then I’d like to visit that iron guild in the morning.”  Hajima says, “Maybe someone there will remember the man connected to this dragon tooth. Anyone wish to join me? If that turns out to be a dead lead, then mayhap we’ll have to take a trip out to the Quivering Forest where this thing supposedly came from.”

“Yer daft or mad!”  Tallisk says, still sounding relaxed but with a note of incredulity creeping into her voice.  “By th hellteeth, why’d we go off into a place what has things that could do… Well…” She gestures vaguely at the destroyed tavern room.  “Me … ma always warned me not ta mess with dragons… Gods n demons look what one tooth accomplished!  Ain’t them… Starshield fellas supposed to handle this kinda shite?”

A laconic calm spreads slowly through Hajima, the effect of the subtle poppy resin mixed with the tobacco and herbs smoothing out the rough edges of his unease.  Not so much that he didn’t notice a few inconsistencies in her speech patterns that suggested she wasn’t telling the whole truth.  Whoever she was, there was a lot more to this plump, rather harmless looking woman than met the eye.

“The Starshield are pretty worthless unless they’re harassing anyone that makes their job bothersome.” Lanaver interjects.

Tallisk’s eyes widen in exaggerated shock. “Official soldiers worthless?  God’s balls, what’s th world comin to?” The smile dissipates as she thinks of the effect the tooth had on the general populace and she bits her lip, a charming gesture. “We need ta find sommat what knows about magic a this caliber… Unless any a you cn speak to it?”

Finally, the man who had brought the tooth to The Boiling Kettle in the first place recovers enough to speak.  “My name is Trett good folk.  I’m merely a merchant, I don’t know where the tooth came from originally as I bought it from a traveling band on my way through the Quivering Forest.”  He pauses, accepting a mug of ale from Tallisk who seems to have a number of them within arm’s reach.

“They showed me how it could be used to heat a forge in place of a fire.  It heated metal much faster and easier you see, and without the danger of it running out of fuel.”  He takes a drink of the bitter ale, “I didn’t know anything else about its other power or curse, I swear!”

“What did you plan to do with it then?”  Hajima asks, his eyes narrowing.

“I was just going to sell it to the Ironworker’s Guild.  I wanted to meet somewhere public because it was worth a lot of gold and there have been rumors about the Silencers getting less and less worried about the Starshield Guard.”  He swallows hard and takes another drink of ale to moisten his tongue.  “I swear, I had no idea it would do something like this.  I’ve been carrying it for days.”

Buhrell Caah speaks for the first time, “You fool.  Even if you didn’t know it could do what it did, you should at least have known that it was dangerous.  Well, you’ll forfeit this little toy at any rate.  That should be punishment enough, I have no wish to get the Guard involved or else I would turn you in.

“I’ve been keeping an eye on the Guilds in Starvale and I would recommend you do so as well.”  He says, crossing his arms.  “I would appreciate it if you turned that tooth over to my organization for safekeeping.  It is dangerous and has too much destructive potential to be on the streets, as we have seen tonight.”

Sebastian looks to his friends, having not yet relinquished the dagger. “What do you all think?”

“I’m dinne know any of ya really, nor if I have a say in what ya do… But it seems ta me that savin th lives a dozens a citizens an stoppin a dangerous, lethal outbreak should be worth far more’n a hand fulla gold. We should have some kinda recognition, so that our deeds dinne go unnoticed. Not only that, but it‘d be a boon ta have some kinda dispensation for our actions seein as it seems not all local guardsmen can be trusted?” She draws deeply on her cigar, exhaling through her nose and trying to look confident. “Who’s this Emerald Enclave and are they capable of handlin somethin like this?”

“Fair enough.” grumbles Buhrell as he sets a tourmaline gem on the table. “The Enclave works together with with other factions who are united against the cult of the dragon. I smell them in this, their foul stink is all about this intrigue. The Enclave alone cannot handle this, but united, perhaps we can.  If I find anything more, you have my word that I will seek you out and keep you informed, but for now, we must analyze that dagger in order to understand how to neutralize similar attempts.”

Rowan places her hand on Sebastian’s arm and says, “I think they are better qualified than we are to deal with this dragon’s tooth. Perhaps someday we will have the knowledge, but I fear we are not there yet. I think it is safer with them.”

“So… Buhrell… What’s th deal with this Emerald Enclave business?” Tallisk asks, “Does it pay well or are there…” Her eyes twinkle with mischief, “Other benefits?”

“To those who seek balance and the preservation of nature, the Enclave is very welcoming. However, those who seek coin should look elsewhere.”

“Not all what’s got value cn be spent.” She says, “Balance’s all well n good, but if’n nature had her way I’d be nothin but dry bones, th marrow gnawed out by rats. Opposin dark forces’s be all well an good, but sure an I gotta keep body an soul together.” She trails off, thinking about the struggle to survive and the lengths she has already had to go to in order to accomplish that seemingly simple feat.

Shaking off her reverie, she focuses and smiles at him, a dazzling display of teeth between pale rose lips. “But us penniless wanderers’r used ta them wealthy enough what they dinne have ta worry bout where their next meal’s comin from passin dispersions on us. No offense taken good Sir, as I’m certain none was intended.”

Murna and her boy find Vellk the next morning and he decides to once more hang up his axe a while and enjoy the simple life. His cut of the last few jobs should see him and Murna, the baby and their farm, safely through the coming months.

Starvale Adventures: A Prelude to Darkness – Chapter 19

Hajima looks outside as the chaos erupts. Seeing that his friends have the situation inside the Boiling Kettle contained, he runs up to his room to grab his long wooden case. He latches two hip quivers to his belt and kicks the button on the case. It springs open and the massive crossbow flies into the air. Hajima snatches it as the arms automatically spring open and lock into position. He runs back downstairs and out into the street to help Tallisk.

At the sound of splintering glass, Tallisk glances over her shoulder and sees the lightning strike the small figure on the street.  “Is this what ya want?” She shouts, “Turn an look ya coward!” Her fists lash out with deadly accuracy in spite of her professing an aversion to violence.

Seeing that the Dwarven woman is resisting Tallisk, and knowing that she is the only person who knows what is really happening here or who devised this sinister plan, he feels that capturing her is of vital importance. He kneels down and carefully aims his crossbow. He holds his breath and fires a single shot directly into the leg of the Dwarven woman.

The crossbow bolt slams into the dwarf woman’s leg and at the same time Tallisk’s fist strikes her in the shoulder with focused precision. The blow spins her around even as the crossbow bolt makes her stumble.  Tallisk forces the woman to look at the dwarf maid convulsing on the ground. “What in th name a th Gods’v ya brought here an how cn we stop it?”

Hajima stands up and approaches Tallisk. “That was some good teamwork, stranger. Can we continue to count on your aid during the remainder of this crisis? You showed some fast thinking and even faster moves back there. You could definitely be an asset to our team, if you’re so inclined.”

“Look, we cn help ya.” Tallisk says gently, helping to support the weight of the dwarf. “But ya gotta help us also ye ken? This needs to be stopped afore it spreads.”

Glancing at Hajima, Tallisk nods in approval. “Nice shootin there.” She tries not to think what would have happened if he had missed.

Hajima reads the unspoken thought in her eyes and grins. “Don’t worry, I never miss.” They bring the Dwarven woman back to the Boiling Kettle and check on the situation with their friends inside.

“M name’s Tallisk, an… an I ain’t really th… hero type.” She says, “Though if ya gotta steady income, I’d appreciate th promise a regular meals sure an I would.” Tallisk makes a strange sign over her chest, roughly translating to ‘never say never ever’

“I’m glad yer aim was true sure.” She sizes him up, knowing he is too experienced to be a mark, but not certain about him yet. “Who’s th ‘we’ yer referrin to?”

Meanwhile, the people who have been struck stand hand in hand forming a circle. They crackle with lightning and the people in the thoroughfare give them a wide berth.  Lanaver looks them over, noting the Safflower necklace, the bow from the Quivering Wood and recalling Rowan’s mention of Safflower oil in the food the half elf Schuyler had been eating.

“I’ve an idea, it’s crazy but, I think it’s the Safflowers!” Lanaver bolts for the kitchen with Rowan hot on his heels.  They begin looking for safflower oil and after a brief search, Lanaver finds a large earthenware jug of it and heads back towards Sebastian at a dead run.  Rowan follows after finding a smaller flask of it next to the cook stove.

Tallisk ducks into the tavern room and shortly emerges with a staff of seasoned ash in one hand and a pack in the other. With a determined grimace, she approaches the circle of folk. “If’n I cn jest find a way ta ground em out.” She mutters, but then quickly dismisses the idea, after all their feet are touching the ground. This is real magic and beyond her experience. All she can do now is keep any others from being infected.

Looking at the half comatose dwarf still in Hajima’s arms, she demands “How do we stop it then? Tell me or by th hellteeth I swear I’ll toss ya in there ta suffer th same fate!”  Her emerald eyes flash with rage that comes as a bit of a shock to Hajima; she looks more like someone’s plump little sister than anything capable of that kind of threat of violence.

“I don’t know.”  The Dwarf says, her face white with pain from the crossbow bolt through her thigh.  “I’m Yanna Hammerbound, a high-level representative of Starvale’s Ironworkers’ Guild.  I was here to purchase the blue dragon tooth from that bastard.”  She points a trembling finger at her former table companion, the first one to succumb to the arcane electrical curse.

As Lanaver runs from the kitchens the lightning finishes with the Dwarven girl. After it leaves her, it strikes the elven man who works at a stall outside the Boiling Kettle where flowers, including the safflowers likely worn by the Dwarven girl, are sold.  The Dwarven girl rises and moves to join the hand in hand circle. A nearby man tries to help her and is jolted and thrown unconscious into the mud.

“Rowan! Sebastian! Follow me!” Lanaver shouts, “If all of us hold on we might share the load and it not kill all of us… We’re basically a living lightning rod and hopefully we can trap the lightning back into the tooth.”

Rowan runs toward the circle, bottle of safflower oil in one hand. She grabs hold of one of her brother’s hands with her other. As she takes his hand, she sings a song of encouragement and their resolve is strengthened by her bardic magic.

The lightning finishes with the flower peddler and arc loudly towards the three friends. The lightning swirls about Sebastian before finally returning safely, for now, within the dagger. The circle of those who were struck ends as they all fall prone. The sound of crackling lightning is no more, only the sounds of panic can be heard as the crowd rushes to help those who were hurt, seeing danger is now abated.

Tallisk stands in shock, speechless for the first time in many moons. These people were crazy! Who in their right mind would put themselves in harm’s way, and in the way of magic, UNKNOWN magic at that? Then she shudders, realizing that she had been prepared to do the same, of only she’d known what to do. Where had THAT inclination come from? Helping others was all well and good, but she had been considering near suicide… But the warm glow she felt when she saw the people who were still alive because of their actions was admittedly nice.

Taking a deep breath, she turns to the group of adventurers. “Tha. Was… well tha was somethin.  What a rush! I… Gods and Demons I need a drink sure an I do.”

Starvale Adventures: A Prelude to Darkness – Chapter 18

Rowan’s eye is caught by the juggler’s act. She’d noticed this drunken doppelganger before, and hoped she was not here to cause trouble, but clearly she was not as drunk as she appeared if she could manage to juggle so nicely, and that triggers a nagging suspicion. Tonight is an odd one at the Boiling Kettle, and with so much at stake, she keeps one eye on the juggling woman as she approaches their table.

The pale-skinned Dragonborn appears frightened at Hajima’s demands, “I don’t know what you are talking about!  Please, don’t hurt me.” She implores him, all but wringing her hands.

Lanaver’s attention shifts back to the dwarf woman that Tuskor is harassing. He can’t help but think he missed something. He walks by the table only to stumble to crash into the dwarf in an attempt to fleece her. His deft hands finger her belt pouch, searching for one that contains something other than coin.

The Dwarf woman yells in anger and clouts him about the head for his foolishness, shoving him prone with surprising strength. The human moves quickly, trying to whisk away whatever he was concealing. The sound of glass shattering echoes through the room, and then the human screams as his body is surrounded by a blue crackling energy. He falls to the floor, a dagger-like object clutched in his hand. The dwarf at the same table pushes back her chair and runs for the door, leaping over the prone Lanaver.

Chaos erupts along with screams as the patrons of the Boiling Kettle run for cover under tables, and push at each other for the door. The pale-skinned Dragonborn flips the table that she sits at opposite Rowan and Hajima then flees from the room, using it as an obstacle to aid her escape.

Rowan leaps to her feet at the first sign of serious disturbance, and screams “NO!” when Lanaver goes down. She sends an empowering thread of magic to her downed friend, and then runs toward the arcing blue light. Looking over her shoulder as she maneuvers through the crowd, she yells to the half orc “Stop her!”

Skirt flying, Tallisk springs lithely onto the table, then vaults over the heads of several panicked patrons. With a fluid flexibility partially granted her by the amount of alcohol she’s consumed, she falls to her knees and slides under another table, coming up next to the female Dwarf who is almost at the door. Grabbing a nearby chair, she attempts to hurl it into the Dwarf’s path but one of the legs gets tangled in her skirts and she goes down in a flurry of cloth and the sound of splintering maple as the chair breaks under her falling weight.  As she falls, Tallisk begins swearing a blue streak, at the top of her not inconsiderable voice… in Dwarven. The oaths she uses would curl the beard of a seasoned veteran of the Mines of Drathgrodosa.

Lanaver pulls the tablecloth off and rushes to the man being electrocuted. He silently prays this is enough insulation to protect him as he wraps the object the man was holding in cloth before trying to pull it from the man’s hand.  The electricity causing the man’s muscles to clench makes it difficult, however Lanaver manages to pull it free with a grunt of effort and a snarl of pain as the arcing energies transfer from the man to him.

From the moment the Dwarven female began to run Tuskor has been muttering his sacred words. Worms writhe up from between the cracks in the floorboards to try and ensnare the fleeing villain.  The Dwarf’s fear was pushing her to greater speed however and she flies out the door just ahead of the groping worms.

Clutched tightly in the human’s hand is a long, dagger-like tooth, in her fearful haste she barrels through the door, narrowly escaping the entangling roots.

Disentangling herself from the broken chair, Tallisk darts after the retreating figure. Moving with a speed that seems almost unnatural, she easily catches up to the dwarf.  “Hey Lassie, what’s yer hurry?” She asks in Dwarven, a friendly smile on her face. “If’n yer in trouble maybe I cn help?”

“How do we turn this thing off?”  Sebastian shouts, looking frantically for a way to nullify the electrical shocking dagger.

Lanaver dumps out a wooden mug and drops the still crackling tooth wrapped in the cloth inside.  “By Corellon’s grace! The suckers gotta bite to it!” He shakes off the static energy still clinging to his fingers and it spatters and sparks in the air before dissipating.

The man who was inundated with lightning drops to the floor. Although it looked like he was dead, he rises to his feet with a sudden jerk. He walks, eyes closed, toward the door. He leaves the building, stops in the middle of the street, and stands as if waiting.  As he walks out, the lightning jumps to Schuyler, the half-elf food critic, who begins to shake violently as lightning arcs in and around him.

Sebastian will use detect magic on the man leaving, afraid he is waiting to get eaten by a dragon the dagger may have summoned.  He finds that the magic suffused within the man is animating his unconscious body to act, but to what end is unclear.

“Sebastian, figure out how to STOP THIS THING!”  Rowan shouts, nearly in a panic.

“Yes sir,” Sebastian obviously used to having orders shouted at him in combat responds readily to the fervent demand. “As soon as I figure out how, Sir.”

“Get these people OUT while we deal with this!”  Rowan yells to Blaizette, her singer’s voice pitched to cut through the clamor.  The Halfling girl nods and begins hustling people out through the clinic.

Hearing the screams of panic behind her, Tallisk reaches out to grab the Dwarf woman by the arm. “What’ve ya wrought in tha place full a innocent folk thenow?” She demands, her green eyes flashing.

Sebastian takes the mug from Lanaver and gingerly looks at it.  The electricity pulses all around it in time with the flashes of static that are currently crackling around Schuyler.

“You can do it, Sebastian! I have faith in you! You can control this force!” And she holds his arms, while she begins to sing the hero song she wrote for the team, focusing on the stanzas that told of Sebastian’s heroic actions.

Tuskor will concentrate on getting the remaining innocents out of harm’s way, herding folk away from the writhing Schuyler with his staff in some cases.

There is a press through the door, some people have resorted to smashing windows to escape the lightning. Schuyler down and the lightning arcs toward the Wild Elf ranger Surruk. She convulses violently as the lightning lashes her. Schuyler rises and moves through a broken window, not noticing the deep cuts on his hands from the broken glass, he joins the other man, hand in hand staring blindly at the sky.

The dwarf throws Tallisk’s hand off hard enough to spin her around. She easily catches up again. “Come now, I abhor violence in all its forms. Let’s no allow this ta come ta blows.”

“As I expected it’s the tooth of a mighty blue draconic beast.”  Sebastian says, “A Blue Dragon to be exact.”

Lightning arcs out leaving Surruk, who rises again and goes to join hands forming the circle outside. After the spell leaves Surruk, it flies out an open window and strikes a small Dwarven girl wearing a necklace made of safflowers.

“What do safflowers have to do with blue dragons? It’s there a blue dragon that made roost in the Quivering woods?”  Asks Sebastian, helplessly watching the circle forming.

“I’m no expert but we cannot let them complete that circle!”  Shouts Lanaver.