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Sunday, February 22, 2009

Thieves' World - Festival

If you are just picking this up, I suggest reading the previous posts first!
Prelude : Characters : Act I : Act II : Act III : Act IV : Prince and Steel

5th of Eseris, Festival
It's many weeks later, and we find the Group anticipating the Spring Festival that is coming up in Sanctuary. The city is always full of new people and there are numerous activities, games, and contests with plenty of drinking and betting. Pickpockets abound, so watch your coin purse!
The Group finds themselves drawn to various activities. A vendor named Crazy Ernie convinces Jack to ‘wrassle’ some bears. Bets are laid out, and Ernie leads out the biggest one for Jack to try his skills on. Much to the delight of the onlookers, Jack manages to pin the bear! A lot of folks are impressed, including Crazy Ernie and three young women. Jack uses that as an excuse to get to know the young women better, and sees the Festival with them.
Malkar enters an archery contest. After several rounds, he wins quite comfortably. He gets the contest purse of 500$h.
All is not fun and games as Elorin crosses a childhood adversary, Borrin. Heated insults are exchanged and the confrontation comes to a conclusion in a duel, right then and there. Elorin uses his anger and rushes in quickly, promptly dispatching his opponent in a single thrust. Borrin’s date leaves with Elorin, who is obviously superior, in her eyes.
That night at Marta’s, many games are being played and Jack arm-wrestles 3 opponents for 3 victories, winning some drinks and the eye of all serving girls there. Modig and Nikolas take advantage of the Festival and set up to gamble as a team; together they manage to end up with Nikolas as the table winner. The Group is on a mighty high from all their victories in the day.

The following day is the day of the public arena fights; entrants pay a fee, and are pitted against each other in single combat for glory. Of course, there is a lot of money to be made by betting in the stands. Nikolas fights in the arena; his opponent is a Hawkmask. Several rounds go by with Nikolas being victorious.
Gagino takes part in a musical contest, and takes both purses of 250 $h for Best Single Song and Best Overall Performer.
Elorin befriends some strangers in town. He’s not certain who seems more strange, Wess or Aerie. Aerie is unconventionally tall for a woman, taller than most people Elorin’s ever met and she wears a very heavy cloak on her back. Wess, the man Aerie travels with, is easily a head taller than she is. They are both very slender of build, and are traveling very light. Elorin tells them where to meet up with the Group later, when the light starts to fade for the day.
When the two travelers enter Marta’s, they attract more attention than usual. Strangers are common in Sanctuary, especially during Festival, but these two have an aura that seems to cause unwanted attention focus on them. They are not only strange in dress and but are even stranger in mannerisms. The strangers seek out the Group and join them at their table. There are introductions all around, and the din of the tavern recedes as the two strangers entrust the Group to their purpose in Sanctuary.
They are here because they’ve followed a path of clues to this Festival. They are looking for a friend of theirs who was kidnapped a few weeks ago from their homeland, far to the north. They completely believe their friend is in significant danger and are willing to do anything to rescue him. They think his enslaver is bringing his circus to the Festival. They don’t know much of who has their friend, but they think it will be easy to find him. The Group ponders their situation and agrees to aid in any way that they can.

The Group arrives at Marta’s and the strangers are there already. The rumor on the street is that there is a traveling show coming to town for the Festival. The newcomers have a feeling that this traveling circus will provide more clues to their friend.
A man in town for the Festival enters Marta’s and looks around. He spots what he seems to be looking for and approaches Kalima. He’s carrying a quarterstaff and since she is also carrying a quarterstaff, he challenges her to a friendly bout in the arena, using only their quarterstaffs. The stranger puts up a 100 $h wager, and Kalima agrees. They walk over to the arena, requisition a slot for fighting, and go in. After a short wait and watching a few fights, Kalima and the man enter their ring, and the fight begins! The battle goes evenly, but Kalima ekes out a win with a lucky blow. The Group watches a few more bouts at the arena, and then is drawn to some new activity from the north; the traveling circus is arriving.
The circus wagon train comes through town, starting at the north gate, through the caravan square (leaving some of the wagons there) and across the Wideway to the Processional, and then north to the Palace grounds. After some setup, an announcer starts revealing the contents of the wagons. There are creatures in cages from the far reaches of the continent. Finally, the last, biggest wagon of them all is revealed and it contains a tall, red, winged humanoid. The announcer calls the humanoid ‘Satan’. The wagons head back to Caravan Square, and the group meets up with the strange travelers in Marta’s. Satan is their missing friend, and they have sworn to free him, and are bound and determined to do so tonight. Elorin cools them down by convincing them to wait one night so they can scout the situation first. The Group is going to the performance tonight to figure out the activity, and then on the second night they will attempt to free him.
In the tent of the circus, several acts are performed, with Satan as the finale. He’s brought out on a stage, and is ordered to provide a show for the crowd. No one in Sanctuary has ever seen nor heard of such a creature, and the Northerners are disgusted with the cruelty with which their friend is treated. Whips and shouts of threats are used to get Satan to show his wings fully spread out, and eventually for him to fly around the tent.
The scouting proves very worthwhile, and the Group waits until the second night for the end of Satan’s flight, then they will spring into action. Outside, Aerie emits a high-pitched keen to alert Satan to her presence, and she removes her heavy cloak. She has wings, too! Aerie takes to the air, while the rest of the plan take shape. Kalima casts some darkness spells at the folks on the stage while the Group outside starts cutting support ropes to the big tent. As the tent collapses, Aerie cuts a hole in the top, allowing her and Satan to fly free. Chaos ensues as the public starts running for the exits while the tent collapses. Wess takes initiative and starts to open the rest of the animal cages, setting all of the captured creatures free.
Outside of town, the Group meets up with Wess. Wess reveals that the group was wrong about something. Wess is commonly mistaken for a man outside of her native land, so she sets the story straight, and bids the Group farewell. The Group wishes her a good journey. She’s going to meet her friends far to the north in a day or so. After watching her in action, the Group does not doubt her ability to survive on her own. Goodbyes are said, and the Group and Wess take opposite paths.