Seriously. Before I showed up at the Nyanis compound last night, I didn’t have a problem in the world ten plat couldn’t solve, and that was on its way. Since then, I’ve barely dodged electrocution, outing, an all-expenses paid trip to the Abyss, and a decent amount of garden-variety being-hacked-to-bits. Next on the agenda is a Matriarchal inquest.
I really hate Aethuainn Nyanis.
I’m writing this in his study, on a few scraps of paper I begged off of one of the duergar ‘for sketching’. I’ll slip them somewhere they won’t be noticed for a few weeks. I’ll pick them back up again after the inquest, but on the oh-so-slight chance that they chop off my head or feed me to the myconids, it’ll just lay around here until a servant does some more intensive dusting. (Note to servant: Trust me, you can parlay this into serious cash if you take it to the right people, and since if you’re reading this, he’s gotten me killed, I personally recommend someone else.)
Anyway! It all started at a lovely party celebrating Niknevin Nyanis’s ascension to her current, er, previous, position. Food, dancers, obscene displays of wealth, same old same old. Aethuainn had nosed it around in certain circles that it was also to be a gathering for ‘like-minded souls’. Which means flaming queers. Because Aethuainn Nyanis is a flaming queer. I repeat for the sake of clarity and whichever of his enemies is reading this, Aethuainn Nyanis is a flaming queer.
You’d think this would mean that I should avoid it like the plague, but these upper-crusters are so obsessed with raising paranoia to an art form that NOT showing up would be cause for suspicion. Narith would have none of my missing an opportunity to mine the beautiful people for new designs, and I could always try to pick up a little side business while I was there.
So there I am, filling my pouch up with these little puffed mushroom things, when Aethuainn himself taps me on the shoulder and asks me to meet him up in his study in about an hour to discuss some private security matter.
Ok, gotta admit I misinterpreted that one.
I get up there, and it’s Aethuainn, four other nobles, and a chamber orchestra. The orchestra was a new touch, but it quickly became clear that, first off, he actually DID want to talk about security, and secondly, I actually knew all four of these guys, from the good old military days.
It’s probably ridiculously facetious of me not to name them here, since they’re all about to head into the inquest with me, but they didn’t have any more choice in what happened last night than I did, so I’ve got no interest in bringing them down. Plus, from what I could remember, they were mostly ok. Not friends (if nobles even know what a friend is), but not assholes. There was a swordmage, and a bard, and an assassin, and a sorcerer. That’ll do for now.
Aethuainn starts in on this little cloak-and-dagger routine that the rest of my new friends just eat up with a spoon. He’s got the goods on us, and he wants us to go over to the abandoned compound and…ok, he doesn’t exactly say, but it’s probably not renovating the upholstery.
One lizard ride later and we’re over at the keep. We scout around outside, but all the doors are locked except the main entrance. Also, there’s some kind of eerie glowing light coming from the lowest level. Back to the main entrance it is, and hey, surprise, this place is full of demons. Thankfully, I’m not the only one who believes discretion is the better part of not getting clawed to death, and the assassin and the bard do some kind of two-step that envelops us in this shadowy cloud. We get about two levels down without them even noticing we’re there. So far so good.
At this point, though, we get stopped full on in what seems to have been the Matron’s chambers by a bunch of lighting-shooting beetle demon things. This isn’t too much of a concern, since my companions aren’t too shabby in the making-stuff-die department. (Note to self: how did Aethuainn know I’d been keeping my skills up? Suddenly very creeped out.)
So then, because my night wasn’t weird enough already, a bunch of empty suits of armor come clanging through one of the other doors, and start attacking both us AND the beetle-demon-things. This is apparently, as the sorcerer explained to me when everything stopped twitching, because the suits of armor were devils and the beetles were demons. So ok, that’s weird.
We get to the observatory, and there’s what must be a magic circle (not that I’d generally know, but it WAS glowing) with a yochlol in it.
In retrospect, assuming it wouldn’t try to eat my face off was probably not my finest hour.
Suffice to say, there were more things that needed stabbing, and another ritual that was letting someone see what we were doing. The sorcerer managed to weaken the yochlol somehow, I don’t know what he was doing but she didn’t seem to like it much.
Ok, this is the part I’m still not sure I get. There was ONE circle, and it was kind of crappy. Then around that was ANOTHER, less-crappy circle, designed to kick in when the first circle finally broke, which happened, um, right after I tried to rush past the yochlol to turn the skull around and she rooted me to the ground.
So I get this funny buzzy feeling in the pit of my stomach and panic must have kicked my adrenalin reserves in, because I manage to break free of the thing and get halfway up the stairs. And nearly collide with Niknevin Nyanis. She shoos me out of the way with your typical Matron manner, like they smell something bad, and walks into the other room. (The weird feeling went away when I got out of the circle. Lucky me.)
Hey, I guess the yochlol could move once the circle was broken too.
I want it on record that I did everything I could to save her. I know that probably doesn’t count for anything, but I’d been in its grasp and I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. The reactions of the rest of the party…disappointed me, if that’s possible for people I’ve barely met. The swordmage seemed to try to help, but the rest of them just let it have her. And by that I mean the other, not-crappy circle lit up and the yochlol, and Matron Nyanis, were both suddenly bound for parts unknown but probably horrible.
And then I had a completely different funny buzzy feeling in the pit of my stomach, given how close it was to being me.
Aethuainn and his guards show up, just seconds too late to be any use. He marches us back to the castle, and now we’re back here, and I’m trying really hard not to eat any of his food.
So, your honor, there is no doubt in my mind that Aethuainn Nyanis had his daughter assassinated. And me too, if you’re reading this. Of course, if I’m wrong and I manage to somehow survive the next half hour, I may have to rethink my position on the guy. He’s got to know we could bring him down at any moment; why would he risk telling us so much?
Who are we kidding? I’m a dead man. Let him fry, your honor.
Love and kisses,
That tailor guy who was executed right after Niknevin died