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Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Mark's Journal #3: Hope Leads to Despair

Mark’s Journal 10/09/09 aka 326

Early the next day, Dreben told us that the Mayor’s daughter had been kidnapped by the mafia in exchange for Big Tony.

In my later years, I would have foreseen this, as it was, I was appalled at the depth of this city’s corruptibility. We went to talk to Johnny to get some information on where the Mayor’s daughter might be. He directed us to Jimmy, a low-life who seemed scared of everything. He was resistant at first, but after showing him how pressing the matter was to us, he gave in and told us about the Holy Order of Ori. This order was enacted by Fur-lonn, and was a group dedicated to helping people. Obviously, they haven’t been around in awhile.

Remembering what we did of Portsmouth, we proceeded to the statue of Fur-lonn on the upper eastern point of the city, by the docks. I had been making a map of Portsmouth since we arrived, and after exploring some more of the city, was able to make this. 

 While I had made my own, and while it was very similar to the above, this official Portsmouth map was created by Michael McKenna, our Dungeon Master and Creator of Ori.

Once we reached the statue of Fur-Lonn, we scouted out the place. Under the statue, there was a platform that looked to serve as a warehouse. There was a door at the front, with some grates around the sides, and on the roof.

Crawling inside, we noticed that there were big boxes, a column, and some guards. In the centre of the room was the little girl kept under close watch. Sometimes, I love being a descendant of werewolves. With my low-light vision, I could see everything that wasn’t obstructed by boxes, and yet I was concealed in the shadows.

It was an interesting twist, fighting from the shadows. Attempting to sneak around and get to the girl, Tori accidentally startled a guard. Changing into a dog, she pounced on a few and got back into the shadows. Since she had been a dog in our fight earlier with some of the mafia, they recognized her right away, and before she could get away they grabbed her and put a bow to her head. Calling us out, Avaron, stepped out of the shadows and put down her sword and staff. Not sure what to do myself, I decided to wait things out. Leviss then stepped from the shadows near the oil lantern, the only source of light in the room. I knew him or Avaron had something up their sleeve, I could tell by their easy ‘surrender’.

With one guard still on the girl, and the rest on Avaron and Leviss, I waited. The tension mounted as no one bothered to make a move; luckily, the captors did not know I was there.

All of a sudden, the one holding Tori shot his bow, and at the same time, Leviss kicked the lantern deflecting the arrow and putting out the light. I must explain something here. As excited, and distracted as Leviss might seem at times, he has the ability to perceive the future. It’s a skill he is still developing, but I’ve noticed that his reflexes, sometimes, are above and beyond, and verge on prescience.

With both kidnappers on the girl, and the lights out, I smiled, grimly. With a quick strike, I brought my sword down hard right through the spine of one captor, sweeping my shield to envelop the girl and disappear into the shadows. Stealth is never something I considered before, being mostly a face-to-face fighter, but after that experience, I will forever value insight and concealment.

After cleaning up our mess, we exited the building to find Dreben, the Mayor, and several others there to congratulate us. It was a joyful reunion for father and daughter, and, just for a moment, a beam of light shone down on Portsmouth. It gave us hope. It reminded us, and the town, that with a little effort, we can make this a better place. But, the light was gone as quickly as it appeared…this city weighs heavy on us all. As a reward, the little girl gave Tori her stuffed bear that she had clung so close to through the encounter.

Back at the Prancing Pony, we had a celebratory night of hospitality and music.

Awaking the next day, Tori told us of a dream she had. In it, a person was sewing in the darkness. Dreams mean little to me, but I have learned to trust the senses of others. Magic is not a language I understand. We left to Precinct 3, Dreben’s precinct, and noticed Red Cloak posters on the way. Apparently, hope was kindled.

Arriving, we noticed that Dreben was not there and in fact the place seemed sparse. Going back to Atlas’, we enjoyed another night of fine company. We went back to the inn.

I do not deal well with inactivity. I am a man of action, or at the least, thought and contemplation. Nothing exciting happened for 5 days. It seemed no one needed our help, and there was nothing to do. While this seemed a positive sign for Portsmouth, I didn’t believe our work was done here.

During that time, Tori dreamt again. This time, she saw a man with jewels, giving her bear to a man on a boat. Curiously, every morning, no matter where it was left, the bear would be beside her totem, the focus of her power. Since no one could understand this, especially me, we opted to give the bear to Avaron to see what would happen. As soon as the bear left her grasp, Tori seemed sad, distracted, and even weaker.

Noticing a letter G shining in the sky, we assumed it was for us, and with that, we went to Dreben. He told us that Tonis had to be transported from Precinct 3 to Precinct 1, there to be held in a higher security prison in order to testify against Big Tony. The problem was that none of his men could be trusted, so it was up to us. We must get him there quickly, Dreben said, and we must do it without anyone knowing.

After a lot of deliberation, we decided to stroll into the precinct and attempt to hide Tonis under a red cloak. We also instructed Dreben beforehand to get us a boat, a wagon, a team of horses, and a group of his best men to escort us.

With these decoys under way, we made our way south. Seems the mob has ears everywhere. In basically a running fight, we made it to the bridge where a trap had been set for us. The bridge exploded, knocking us all down, and making me lose my shield in the process. I failed to mention it before, but it has been a running joke with my comrades that we cannot get into a fight without me getting burned, covered in acid, goo, or some other terrible thing.

Delusional, barely able to stand, and scorched by fire, we turned to the docks in the middle of the city. Fighting minions and mages alike, we made it to a boat.

To this day, I do not know how we did it, but after out-rowing a pursuing boat, we made it to the trade house only to be surrounded by thugs. Then, Dreben and his new recruits showed up and Tonis was taken to the courthouse.   

Another victory for the Guard. But, a close one. The bridge was lost, Tonis was almost killed on the way, and I lost my shield. All was not lost, however, as we were soon to find out. Making our way back to Atlas’ place, we found that he had, once again, taken up his symbol. The fact that he felt safe enough to bring his services back to the community was so encouraging. Not only that, but his little boy found my shield! Apparently, he had been following us around town all along and was our biggest fan. Thinking of Leviss’ manner toward the Keepers, I hugged the boy and thanked him.

Giving 50 gold toward Atlas’ cause, he told us that Tori’s bear was named Mr Snugglywuggles, a nexus of natural power. Given by the King to protect the Mayor’s daughter, it was now given to Tori to be used for the greater good.

Just then, Leviss and Avaron sensed that a magical item that had been in the warehouse we caught Big Tony at, was gone. They had been feeling it faintly all along, but now, it was gone. Making our way to the warehouse, we found another dagger with a note, “Still too slow”.

I don’t know why, but I took these thefts personally. Usually, with my contemplation, meditation, and trained mind, I am able to foresee and plan for various contingencies. Even if I don’t, Leviss’ prescience, Tori’s natural connection, or Avaron’s clear mind are able to foresee most scenarios. With this second theft by the same villain, the same taunting villain, I vowed to collect his daggers in the hope that, one day, I would make him squirm at the end of one.

Longwinded, maybe, but my journals are here to help me and to help you. They help me relax, reflect, and plan my next move. For you, well, who knows how important this information might be to you someday?

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