The Once and Future King

It's elemental, my dear Watson

Kithry Teaberry and Oskar the Nameless made it back into Sharn on the third day of Dravago with just a week to spare until the effects of the poison administered by Prince Morcant ir’Wynarn were predicted to make themselves known. It being the spring season, there was now little need for their traveling cloaks in this Southern city, but the two vertically challenged heroes kept their coverlets in the hopes they would help distract observers from the fact that they were wanted men. Strangely, the posters they found and ripped down in the city’s tower market stated they were wanted for robbery, not murder, but the two found little motivation to question this clerical error.

A series of unfortunate dice rolls caused the pair some grief in trying to locate an alchemist – any alchemist – who could lead them to Jezel Aberforth, but a gyptian woman’s instructions to seek out the alchemist’s guild hall a level higher in the city brought the two once again face to face with their own faces on wanted posters just beside the guards overseeing the lifts to the upper levels. Loathe to try donning disguises, the halfling and the dwarf decided to make their way back to the Rat’s market in the lower levels of the crooked spire, hoping they could find someone who had heard of a poison-loving alchemist named Jezel while at the same time avoiding the grudge-holding goblin Skakan. Finding a likely vendor, Kithry immediately recognized among the wares before him the names of two poisons listed on Jezel’s invoices. One, nitharit root, was said to kill a man on contact, while the other, Oil of taggit, merely rendered its victim unconscious upon ingestion. Kithry was able to trade his magnifying glass for 5 doses of the Oil of taggit. Having established a rapport with the vendor, it was not long before Jezel’s name was brought forth. Fortune favored the halfling, as the black market vendor had heard of Jezel – a gnomish alchemist from the city district of Gnomington.

In Gnomington, the wanted posters disappeared, and Kithry and Oskar were more at liberty to search out their intended target. Entering the first alchemist’s shop they came across, the duo met a wizened old gnome named Brender, who was quick to direct them to Jezel’s lab, but even quicker to warn them against mentioning his name to the paranoid alchemist Jezel. Brender was able to tell them that greenblood oil was listed as originating in Droaam, and would damage the liver after a period of about a month causing death, and that most poisons could be cured without an antidote but merely the blessings of a temple priest for the right amount of coin and/or prayer. The duo left Brender’s shop and headed toward Jezel’s.

The first sign that the description of Jezel Aberforth had been accurate was the layer of blue, metallic smelling “paint” that covered the descending passageway into Jezel’s underground abode. Kithry led the way down this slippery slope, and noted the abundance of blue footprints at its paintless base, just in front of a fountain that spouted a clear liquid smelling slightly of rotten eggs into a shallow basin beneath. Kithry collected some of this liquid in a wineskin, and notice that the liquid itched where it touched the skin on his hands. He rinsed the liquid off with water and waited for Oskar to descend. The dwarf, not wanting to cover the bottom of his boots with blue paint, covered them in burlap before descending the hall, and when he was done, threw the used pieces of burlap into the fountain. Both were surprised to discover that the liquid dissolved away the blue paint from the burlap pieces, and Kithry used this new knowledge to clean his boots before the pair proceeded down the hallway to the right, ending at a door.

Peeping through the door’s keyhole, Kithry saw yet another doorway beside a gnomish hatstand on the wall opposite this entryway, as well as the beginnings of an unbelievable assortment of gnomish tools hung along a wall the continued beyond his line of sight. Hearing nothing, the halfling opened the door and entered to tool room. Once again, curiosity got the better of the halfling, who couldn’t resist sifting through the drawers of tools in the hopes that he might find a weapon or gadget of interest, or better yet, paperwork revealing the nature of their ingested poison. It was only when he attempted to put the first item he’d picked up down that Kithry realized the tool was covered with some sort of alchemical crazy glue that refused to let go. It made matters no better that Kithry’s dominant hand was now glued to a glorified gnomish toaster.

Oskar tried to pass through the doorway by the hatstand, with no luck, as some sort of invisible force field prevented him from entering. Kithry, meanwhile, searched for secret doorways in the rest of the room, but failed miserably. It took the dwarven sense for stonework to reveal a hidden door in the paneling of the toolroom, and Oskar entered a room filled with all imaginable kinds of alchemical apparatuses – twisted and twirling glass and rubber tubing connecting bubbling and boiling liquids of various colors. The room also contained a large circular fireplace with silver-lined decorative symbolry on its floor and a writhing, life-like fire blazing above. Kithry entered next, and after rifling through the alchemical library of small potions numbered in spidery script, noticed a bucket of the blue “paint” sitting beside the doorway, giving Oskar the inspiration to try throwing it upon the flames. Sadly, this action destroyed the circle of protection ensnaring the fire elemental that Jezel had been using to aid in his alchemical pursuits, explosively releasing the elemental into the laboratory and upon our unsuspecting heroes. Wisely, retreat through the secret door was chosen as the best alternative in this instance, and the two lived to see another room.

Returning to the T junction at the bottom of the painted hallway, the duo turned left this time, coming upon the cloakroom, filled with paint-splattered outerwear, a large fishtank containing fish and a mixture of submerged tools and poitions, and a mysteriously entrancing rainbow pattern on a tapestry hung on the adjacent wall that ensnared Oskar’s attention with its ever-changing spectrum of color. The dwarf might have stood there forever were it not for Kithry’s intervention. In the room beyond – the receiving room – the pair found a log book detailing visits by royal pages, minor nobles, and interestingly, one Orwell d’Obergill of Mooncrest Lodge. There was also a catalog of poisons and antidotes on offer by Jezel, which included an item from the invoices found at Mooncrest – Snow moccassin. The Snow moccassin came from the Graywall mountains, and was likely to cause delayed poisoning. The antidote to Snow moccassin was a tincture of monkshood tinged with a drop of dragon’s blood.

Continuing onward, the dwarf and halfling located Jezel’s sleeping chambers, but no written records of interest, and finally, came to a large underground space which served to store both kitchen wares and a variety of small animals who were now protesting loudly at the presence of the fire elemental in their midst. Noting the efficacity of retreat on first attempt, the pair decided to do so again, but were this time followed by the fire elemental. Kithry wisely chose to upset the large aquarium in the cloakroom, securing the two the time to run out of the building before the elemental’s pursuit caused the painted hallway to explode, and collapse upon the extraplanar creature.

The two were left to return to Brender’s shop, toaster in hand, to attempt to make sense of all that had just happened. Sadly, aside from detaching the toaster from Kithry’s hand, Brender could offer little help to the duo. They’d learned some things, stole some things, destroyed some things, and wasted most of a day, but seemed little closer to clearing the deadly poison from their veins.

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