With Thane leading the way, the group sought the pauper that they had been told to seek. They felt as if they were grasping for straws at this point. Unsure of who pursued them or why their friends were gone or dead at every turn.
The pauper was not hard to find, an orc male with a gray beard and who walked with a limp was found nearby in a market square shouting at those who passed by. He spoke of very specific predictions to those who he approached.
Erak approached the supposed prophet, paid him a small fee and was told to seek a lady of silver at the opera house. They were warned to be cautious. The old orc seemed to truly believe what he told them.
The opera house was to be found in the Palace District. On their way there the group was wary but did not get the sense that they were followed.
The house itself was a large building towering over all the other structures in the area, with the exception of the palace. It housed popular entertainment for both the rich and the poor of the city of Fortoss. Typically there could be found two shows a night, six nights a week. The current showing was apparently titled “Alensela Lumen Amentillo”. Perhaps an Elvish title? Unfortunately, we were all too uneducated to know.
There were three tiers of seats, each costing 3, 5 and 10 silver for seats. The story itself was relatively well known. A love story, which took place 100 years ago in a made up place.
Erak chose to stay outside and watch the rest of the people coming and going from the opera house. Leukos attempted to bluff his way into a balcony seat (which had been sold out) and while he was fairly convincing unfortunately all the patrons had already arrived and were not about to be evicted. He ended up purchasing a 10s seat. Thane meanwhile bought a 3s seat. As the doors shut Erak took up a place across the street where he could watch the entrance.
The opera house floor seated about 100 people while the balconies could contain another 40-50. Leukos section seemed to be made up of mostly respectable middle-class while those in Thane’s section appeared to mostly be the lower working class.
Erak began a slow circuit of the opera house keeping an eye on the entrances.
An announcement was made that the show would be starting soon and everyone took their seats. The opera primarily consisted of a male orc and an elven woman with silver hair whose voice seemed almost magical and put Leukos and Thane at ease. It’s fairly clear this is the woman they had been told to seek.
Throughout the performance both Thane and Leukos felt as if they were being watched. Little glimpses out of the corners of their eyes seem to confirm that some of the patrons are not watching the opera but are instead keeping their attention on the pair despite being in different sections. Outside Erak continued his circuit unaware of anything going on inside and not seeing anything suspicious outside.
Leukos counted about 10 people, very spread out who seemed to not being paying attention though it was hard to tell if they were just bored or focused on something else. There seemed to be no apparent commonality between race and attire.
Thane meanwhile noticed similar traits but could tell in his section they appeared to be thugs. They did not appear to have any formal military training and while they were armed so was most everyone else at the opera.
Erak as he made his circuit walked up to one of the service entrances, tried the door and found it unlocked. He continued on his way.
The warforged had bought a 5s seat and was fairly close. Thane could see everyone from where he was seated in the back. During the intermission, Thane, Leukos and the warforged all met in the lobby and compared notes. They tried to pay attention to who was coming and going, but it was hard in the bustle of the crowd. Some seemed to hang around and act casual, while others flat out left. Meanwhile, others who they had thought were watching them closely simply stayed in their seats.
Erak sees no one else leave other than the few who had passed through the lobby. He had no reason to be suspicious of them though so he simply noted it and continued his observation. Leukos headed outside and filled Erak in.
As the show began again the warforged and Thane returned to their seats. Every one else did as well with the exception of those had left outright.
After about 5-10 minutes, the two who had left returned with four more. They walk up to one of the service entrances and walk inside. Erak stealthily moved after the group and go in the same door as them. Peering inside he sees the six standing in the lobby with their weapons drawn and peaking through the doors into the opera house itself. Erak waved Leukos over as he leaned back out. They both continued to observe.
It looked like they were scanning the crowd looking for specific people. However, they seemed to be confused, as if they were looking for someone in particular but did not see that person.
One of them started glancing around and noticed Erak and Leukos at the side entrance. He shouted and raised his crossbow. They must’ve been trying to account for Leukos and could not see him in his seat.
Erak charged the man with the crossbow and let out a yell. Leukos took the opening and immediately struck the minds and will of the attackers. The sounds of battle could be heard over the opera and as people realized what was happening they began to flee in a panic. Thane and the Warforged engaged a number of other thugs who stood amongst the fleeing patrons. After some skirmishing back and forth, surprisingly the male orc and the elven woman who were still on stage entered the fray. The elven woman floated gently down from the stage before pummeling one of the attackers to death with her fists. The male orc’s stage weapon appeared significantly less like a prop up close.
After finishing the thugs in the lobby Erak and Leukos entered the opera house proper to assist Thane, the warforged and the two opera house actors finish the rest.
The assailants were dead or unconscious and scattered throughout the opera house. The elf and orc still had theirs weapons drawn and looked at us suspiciously. The elf actress approached and spoke.
“I have sensed your coming, or someone like you, but I have not sensed the reason why. These men that attacked you are disgusting creatures who commit foul acts in service of their master. That he considers you a threat endears you to me, but do not think us friends. The guards will no doubt be here in minutes and you will leave in shackles if I see fit. So tell me, why have you brought this conflict into my sanctuary?”
Erak, slowly approached the two and spread his hands wide showing his palms.
“My lady, please accept our apologies. We came here not to find conflict but in search of advice.”
Looking at his companions the monk continued, “the four us were attacked a few weeks ago aboard a ship bound for this city. While concerning in and of itself, we have been searching for answers since we walked out of the desert and have been led to believe you may be able to assist us in this endeavor.”
“We are not even sure who it is that have attacked us, but we know they have been watching us for some time.”
Thane wiped the blood from his axe on a nearby corpse and took a few steps toward the two, axe lowered. Unwilling to put it away completely, the Goliath held his weapon firm but without aggression. Looking up with equal parts defiance and curiosity he spoke.
“We are four strangers with seemingly nothing in common before we were attacked. Fate has drawn us together, it seems and we have, everyone one of us, bled for each other.”
“Fate has now drawn us to you. We appear to have a common enemy and it has been prophesied that you may have answers that we seek. In our short time here we have already witnessed destructive power that has not been seen for an age.”
Finally strapping his axe on his back without taking his eyes off of the Elf and Orc, Thane also spread his arms apart, palms facing out. “What would you have us do?”
“That I revile them does not make them my enemy any more than a child who swats a hornet off his arm. As to who attacked your ship or what this destructive power you have spoken of, neither answer my question. Why have you sought me out? I am a bard, gentlemen. I sing of deeds great or foul, and while I have a great skill in such, I can’t say that adventurers have ever sought me out for advice for such a thing, so I ask again. Who or what has told you to seek me out?” the elven woman appeared to have little patience.
Erak said quietly, “A mad man, perhaps? Or a prophet? I know not truly which he was.” The monk seemed embaressed to admit this.
The elven woman rolled her eyes, “I ask what you want from me and you don’t know? Are you prone to following the meanderings of mad men? You have told me nothing, either deliberately or because you are nothing more than fools.”
She motioned towards the orc. “Grep, see them to the exit.”
She turned towards us, “If I didn’t revile those slain in my house today then you’d have joined them for such a pointless interruption. Leave here and do not return.”
Raising his hands defensively, Erak said, “We’re looking for a dragon, though not one of the three.”
The goliath takes a step forward and points a bony finger at the orc. “Not so fast.”
Turning to his companions Thane continued, “Clearly our silver lady does not appreciate flowery language or ambiguity from strangers. Let us be blunt.”
Turning back around and keeping one eye on the orc, Thane spoke to the elf woman, “For bringing violence into your sanctuary, we apologize. A beggarly prophet pointed us to you, clearly we were followed. We seek the council of dragons other than the Three. Will you help us?”
The elven woman sighed, “Hold, then. Those seeking dragons rarely do so outside of the Dragon District. That you have come to me in this matter has piqued my interest, yet you continue to be vague. I’m not one to fault another for their lack of trust, I have known the sting of betrayal on more occasions than I’d like to say. However, let me remind you that it is you who came to me. My patience will only extend so far.”
She looked to Grep, “See that the guards are let inside, I will take our visitors backstage until their business is complete.” As she walked towards the stage, she motioned for the group to follow and continued. “I will give you a task to complete, this is not a task on my behalf, but on yours. I will give you the name and location of the man who sent thugs to end your life. I admit I am curious to know as well. I will give the information to you at no cost, however know this, if you find the need to return to me once the task is complete then I will not abide any further ambiguity. You will either trust me fully or else you will get nothing further from me.”
Thane looked to his companions to see if any looked opposed to the Bard’s requirements. Turning back to the bard he said with a nod, “We accept.”
“So be it” the monk said and folded his arms across his chest as he followed the woman and his companions.