Chapter 7, Part III: The Beach Episode

Written by Loremonger, Seth (edited and enhanced by Kasey)

Previously on the Platinum Talons (Trademark Pending)... our heroes had just found BOJO talking to the Order of Righteous Conflict recruiter named Tazz in the tavern. The party split, with Vance taking off on his own to sneak into the Halfmoon Harvest Inn as stealthily as possible, a nod to his skills at navigating crowds harkening back to his traveling troupe days. Meanwhile Nohki and Blake stood out front, while Firebrook awaited around the back.

BOJO appeared, to the Talons, to be super suspicious. Vance overheard the reason BOJO was talking with the recruiter. Someone important to him had gone missing, though it was unclear who exactly. Upon figuring this out, the party followed BOJO at a distance until he turned down an alley. When Vance followed him in, he ambushed his believed-to-be assailant, only to realize his mistake. He inquired as to the reason Vance and the others were following him. Vance tactfully explained that the Talons had be concerned for their friend and had suspicions upon seeing him with an ORC recruiter.

BOJO, understanding why the Platinum Talons would be curious after seeing him associate with such company, went on to explain that his beloved, Hildar, had apparently signed up with Tazz to join the Order, and had made her way to Brimhold already. He was considering how to possibly get his dearest back safely. Upon hearing all this, the Platinum Talons were assured BOJO had not joined the ORC. BOJO also confided in his companions about his heartfelt plan to propose to Hildar upon her cherished hill near Brimhold.

Vance, Nohki and Blake all learned more about the defenses in place at the blockade between Solendia and Brimhold and how the process of joining the ORC would force any who undertook the trial/ritual to be controlled or possessed in some nature. Cutting through the blockade was potentially the most straight forward path to Brimhold, though they had also learned that heading slightly more northward through the foothills of the Creeping Mountains and Yurdrok would allow them to circumvent it entirely. Looking for more information, Firebrook sought the counsel of Tali through the Warden's shield, exchanging words with her spirit and learning that Larry Steve had died in captivity.

Vance, brainstorming, asked aloud if Firebrook knew of any such protections against the ORC battalion, only for the group to then realize they had abandoned their ally back at the inn, guarding the backdoor. Using the message stone, Firebrook rejoined the party. Vance again asked the question if there are any possible protections against the order's mind forces. To which Firebrook unfortunately informed the rest that no such protections existed to the best of his knowledge. They landed on two options: infiltrate the stronghold or go the longer way through Yurdrok. Pondering their best approach, the Talons decided it would be best to wait until the rest of the group rejoined, as Drez and Xerxes had stayed back at the Wiltspar for the day.

In the meantime, our heroes took this opportunity to relax and have fun as they enjoyed festivities going on during this festival day in Solendia. Blake, along with BOJO, went along to sample the various foods of the village, one of which was fried dough, a great delicacy not well known to BOJO's otherwise well-traveled palate.

Nohki brought his friends to the Temple of Spriggit, where they encountered their old Blacksmith friend Talune and his wife Seluna, displaced artisans from Platinum City, their woes echoing the encroaching shadow of Brawlmart. Nohki, seizing an opportunity to bolster their ranks, recruited the skilled couple into the fold of the Wiltspar, gaining them not just two, but FIVE new craftsman to fill out the Craftsmen Hall. Talune and Seluna would bring their three teenage children, Milo, Lyla, and Crash.

Inside the temple, Nohki found himself chatting with Grey who offered divine insights into the tapestry of Fynali's gods.

Vance wished to explore as well, and while doing so, had an urge to put on a performance. The Sure Thing, which Vance had chosen, was also frequented by two of his old friends from the troupe, Simon Phoenix and Beldar Gaddigan.

Beldar recounted the tale to Vance about the night Vance left, and that his father, mother, and uncle had all been missing. There were a few casualties from the attack on their campsite, but the bodies of Vance's family had never been recovered.

Beldar and Simon described the orcs that attacked that night as exceptionally organized with highly modern weapons. They both recounted that the group was led by a brutal general wearing a disturbing mask.

Meanwhile, Tagg's quest for amusement led him to the raucous game of Earthquake at the same tavern, where he witnessed the lively spectacle of table-shaking competition.

In the midst of the revelry, Nohki found himself engaged in an unexpected exchange with Jamie, whose fascination with his wooden arm prompted him to nearly chop off his own. Vance, hoping to recruit someone else to the Wiltspar, gave Jamie the answers to both questions he asked and questions he did not ask, which put the Talons goals in danger when it was implied that Jamie might have a connection to the ORC.

After the eventful night, the Talons returned to the Wiltspar. Firebrook was alerted to Bloodmoon's awakening, and he rushed through the Wiltspar and into Aurifar's residence. After weeks of unconsciousness following her battle with the Darkness, her wakening seemed to bring him relief, and she expressed that she was ready to help however she could.

As the sun dipped below the horizon, casting its golden glow upon the land, the Talons stood united, hoping to catch up with their friends at the Wiltspar and head forth into a new adventure.

Completed: April 2024