Chapter 7, Part II: Personas Non Grata

Before the Platinum Talons left the Dream Suite, Adalair and Trixie offered them the opportunity to ask them ten questions. The rules were that the questions could only be answered with yes or no, and that they had to say the name of the person they were asking before they asked the question. The Moonlight Duo told them that they had one more piece to this game, and that they could only reveal it after the questions were asked. Trixie threw a tightly wrapped present at the gang, and demanded that they not try and open it until later.

The Talons then proceeded to ask nine questions to learn more about the challenges ahead and the mysteries surrounding them. Before they asked their final question, Blake suggested that perhaps the remaining piece of this game was that one of the duo was lying, so Xerxes asked Vance to make the tenth question one that they knew the answer to. Vance asked Trixie if his name was Vance Eddard Vane, to which she confirmed it was.

Once out of the Dream Suite, the Talons still had the present Trixie had given them. Blake carefully opened it to find that his hunch was correct. The note revealed that one of the duo had to lie, and with Xerxes's clever suggestion, they were able to discern that Adalair's answers were not truthful.

There was a knock on the wagon door and someone named Germ Scukbottom asked Blake and Flossy to get ready for the match, giving the Talons three hours before it began.

Drez worked with Captain Trevor Fitesbough to learn how to control a boat, and gets a proficiency in water vehicles. He also learned about the areas in the sea that appear the most dangerous.

Vance ran the merch table for Blake and made a profit of 211 GP. While he was selling, Violet showed up and kicked him in the groin.

The fight began with Blake playing his Rake character, but this time, as the hero. Flossy played a member of the working class, Shoesan the Shoesmith. Seeing the crowd's reception to his character, and hearing the words of Germ from the MC booth praising how he accidentally killed a man in his last fight, Blake snapped and gave an impassioned monologue about the lack of humanity shown to the common person by the rich patrons of the SS Tincture. Feeling repulsed by his own persona, Blake threw himself to "his death" from the crow's nest, into barrels of blood-like liquid.

As the scene unfolded, Drez, Nohki, and Xerxes noticed three suspicious looking figures in the crowd, and before they could alert the rest of the team, those figures jumped into the ring and descended on Flossy.

Drez was hit with a bolt from the crowd, which left a distinct mark. A letter was rolled up around the shaft of the arrow, and read "Drez Kraven, It is your time. We've been watching you. Always. Seek us out or we take matters into our own hands. - Lefty London"

Mark left on Drez by the arrow

The Platinum Talons defeated the ruffians who, after some interrogation, learn are members of the Order of Righteous Conflict, and are employed as Blue Chippers.

Drez noticed underneath the assassins' fake rich people clothing, they were wearing black cloaks with a scythe on the back and Vance recognized it as a similar symbol to the Hellspear symbol.

They learned that Gragthar was currently swarming with Order members, and while he was taking notes on the situation, Blake-- who had decided to shed his persona and return to his true name, Tagg-- realized that the acronym for Order of Righteous Conflict was ORC, prompting the rest of the Talons to realize that perhaps the orcs who had attacked, at least Drez's village, weren't necessarily orcs (the race) but ORCs, the members of the order.

When Vance tried to send Gregor, one of the Blue Chippers, to Marista, a dark hand clawed up from the ground and pulled him under, claiming that Gregor's soul was claimed by another. Xerxes realized that the other Blue Chipper who had been kept in another area of their wagon had died as well, which seemed unlikely to happen naturally.

The Platinum Talons finally arrived at Solendia Beach, a town warm and bustling with the lights and music of the Festival of Snow and Sand.

They were immediately descended upon by an eager half-orc recruiter, who made a bee-line for Xerxes. Xerxes introduced himself as Thorn to the recruiter who called himself Tazz. Tazz explained that Gragthar was under attack by the poison veil, and he was calling upon Thorn as an orc to step up to defend the motherland of their people. Thorn said that he was born in Terriah and had loyalty to that land, which Tazz did not seem to understand. Tazz was, also, born off of Gragthar, but still felt the pull to the land and the country which helped protect and uplift their people. Orcs, he said, were often villainized, and it was through the work of women like Chieftain Ouglana and the chieftains before her that helped to re-establish their place in society.

Thorn, noticing the robe that Tazz wore that implied he was associated with the Order of Righteous Conflict, told him that he would not join his order, but that he did plan to help keep Gragthar safe. Sensing his sincerity, Tazz gave Thorn the advice to head north through Yurdrok to skirt around the large order blockade that was cutting through the center of the region.

Vance's insight check on Tazz showed that he was being genuine about his intentions, and that his main goal was to assist with protecting Gragthar from the poison veil.

Looking around the town, the Talons realized that there are not very many of the familiar stores or buildings here. Solendia did not seem to have an AGI or a Brawlmart, and appeared to be filled with stores run by locals as well as other businesses catering to tourists.

Dr. Hoo searched the surrounding area for anything of note and located a Wiltspar Sapling to the west of the main beach.

Before heading off to the Wiltspar with the rest of the Talons for a good long rest, Xerxes and Flossy went to the Halfmoon Harvest Inn to get a safe place for the wagon. Once inside, they noticed Tazz at one of the tables being yelled at by friend of the family, BOJO.

Completed: April 2024