Chapter 6, Part VI: Hickory the Doc

Inside of the stables of the AGI, the Platinum Talons slept in their wagon, finding their bunk beds cozy. On the shelf in the front room, Candice had left them a few different books, one of which was a children's book about Terravox the Earthshaper.

In the morning, before leaving, they set the orb of last location inside the wagon to easily return if they ever needed to do so.

Xerxes gave Nohki a warding bond ring, and the group split up to venture into the city.

Holly told the group that remained back at the AGI that Hearth Tower had been closed off due to a recent magical incident. Xerxes asked Holly to please let Adriana Grayforge know that Adrian was there to see her with his friend Jessica. Holly then called up to Adriana and gave her the message, to which she seemed to react with surprise and hang up on Holly. Adriana Grayforge, a dark-skinned human woman with deep brown finger curls in her hair and a toolbelt over her sharp executive attire, quickly arrived in the AGI lobby. Xerxes and Firebrook hastily introduced themselves, and they explained to Adriana that they were friends of her great great great great great grandfather Adrian Grayforge. With some high persuasion, the pair convinced her that they had time traveled and met Adrian in Clefshire. She explained that there was a story in her family about Xerxes, the mysterious man who had arrived, invested gold in the AGI, and left without a trace.

Adriana invited them up to her office, showing off her flashy gear-powered elevator that brought them up to the highest floor of the building. When Firebrook mentioned that he knew about elevators and was an artificer himself, Adriana offered him an open position as a company artificer, to which he had to decline due to his desire to save the world and whatnot, though he did not explain that to Adriana.

In Adriana's office, a large room decorated in sharp geometric angles and bright metallics that overlooked the entire city of Lorecliff, they asked her about the AGI Concierges in the other cities, wanting to know if they were constructs. Adriana, looking proud, told them to keep the secret, but that, yes, the AGI Concierges were all advanced models of constructs developed by Grayforge Industries. They asked her if Holly was a construct as well, which seemed to tickle her. She told them that the mystery of not knowing seemed like much more fun than spoiling the surprise.

As they chatted, her apprentice, Henley, knocked on the door to alert her to the press conference she needed to attend about the mess afoot. Xerxes asked her if the mess had anything to do with Dr. Hickory's quest on the board, to which Adriana explained that he was exactly right, and that if the Platinum Talons were able to take care of the mess in an hour-- about as long as she could reasonably hold the press conference off for-- that she would double their payout for the job.

Xerxes and Firebrook headed off to find the rest of the Talons, but not before grabbing the quest off of the AGI's board.

Meanwhile, Drez visited Aw, Shoot to pick up an upgraded hand crossbow. The proprietor, Vector Tull, excitedly took his +1 crossbow with a promise to try and upgrade it to give him some force damage to add to his bow.

Blake, worried about his current beef with Faraday Lawson, went to the park to hide his appearance with a shape-water mask and a bedsheet. A random guard, seeing the shift behavior, called him out for being weird. Blake then headed over to the Battletower. Inside, he saw Flossy Durdles just inside the main area for the combatants. As he attempted to head inside, he's stopped by a minotaur named Athos who asked him if he was a registered combatant. Although Blake is no Donkey Douglas, he told Athos that he would come back with his team to register for the exhibition matches.

Vance visited Eliana at Songbird Sundries to buy himself some sheet music and to ask about his troupe. Eliana said that she saw the Mystic Crescendo a couple of weeks ago, which was likely when Vance was last with them.

Vance bought the sheet music for Terravox the One and Only (which came with a free flute) for 90 GP and a rendition of Happy Birthday for Eliana, a song that she said was her favorite.

Nohki visited Wheezy Jack and bought 2 Florklifft Kits from him as well as the recipe for the towering monstrosity.

They all met up and headed over to the Hearth Tower, where Dr. Hickory was last spotted. On the way, Blake told them about the Battletower, Flossy and his concerns that maybe she might be in cahoots with Faraday.

They approached Dr. Hickory about the quest. She explained that she is a very busy woman and she often skipped breakfast, but she knew it was the most important meal of the day, so she made a construct to make her breakfast, but something happened and the construct got out of control. She said its name was Eggtron, and it was meant to make her omelets. She describes it as a giant egg with arms and legs attached to it.

They were let into the Hearth Tower by the owner, and stepped into an inn in chaos. They noticed dishwear up and dancing with silverwear. There was an alley cat that was playing a violin on an overturned table. Blake noticed a milk jug in the shape of a cow and a painting with a large moon. Blake took a moment to question existence and if animated objects are real. Nohki picked up the cow and set it over the moon which restored the inn back to normal.

They followed the giant egg-shaped hole in the back of the inn out of the building and followed the smashed cobblestone towards the alley beside Songbird Sundries. Eliana was screaming and she told them that she shooed a spider out the door while the egg was rolling by and then all of a sudden she heard a lot of loud noises and screaming.

Xerxes and Firebrook notice the sounds of people screaming and running around the corner and as they turned into the alley, they saw a Hugey Bugey Spider who began to advance on them.

The Talons jumped into action, with everyone getting some great shots in. Drez climbed onto the roof and shot some bolts from his loaner crossbow into one of the spider's many eyes.

Using his Stone Cold Stunner ability, Blake grappled the spider, and Firebrook was able to cleave the head off of it. As it died, it turned into a eensy weensy little guy on the cobblestone road.

Nohki's keen eye helped guide the Talons onto the right path after Eggtron, and they found young Jack Jr. and Jill outside of Wheezy Jack's. They pointed the Talons towards the city wall where the egg had scaled up and then fell off. The Platinum Talons sent up Dr. Hoo to get a good look over the cliff-side of the wall. The familiar reported back that there appeared to be a large metal egg, broken and caught between two rocks. Nohki used his spider form to web it and then drag it up the wall. They added the rope of entanglement for good measure before bringing Eggtron back to Dr. Hickory.

Inside the AGI, the party reconvene with Adriana and a tipsy Dr. Hickory who apparently had started to drink pretty early that morning. Adriana provided the Talons with their doubled payout, and thanked them profusely for their assistance.

Firebrook also asked Adriana for some stock options in Grayforge Industries and Vance gave Drez the flute he received from Songbird Sundries.

They registered for the Battletower as the Ruby Claws, and Xerxes bribed Athos to get a location of the match for Flossy Durdles. Blake spoke with Flossy, who lets him know that she got his message to leave town, and so she did, heading west to Lorecliff where she hoped to make some money for a ticket out, which assuaged Blake's fear that she was there to double cross him. She told Blake that she didn't talk to the Blue Chippers, but Xerxes feared she was lying and attempted to intimidate her. She admitted that she did talk to the Blue Chippers but that she didn't want to freak Blake out by telling him that the Blue Chippers were asking for him. She told them that she lied to the Blue Chippers and said that she and Blake had a falling out.

They told her that they will take her to Solendia if she agreed to take their wagon across. They also convinced her to go to Wiltspar.

The crew headed down the safe path to the port after Drez picked up his new and improved force-damage hand crossbow. On the way down, Xerxes used his Rumor Mill ability to learn that Solendia beach was a tourist destination in the past, but that it no longer was. The only time that tourists went was during the Festival of Snow and Sand. He was told that there are creatures in the water, especially at night.

Completed: March 2024