…Shadowfox Discovers Some Disturbing Secrets…
…about her past.
Grim was still in her full battle mode when the general came over to thank her.
“I see now why the Lady Inzira has chosen you to represent us to Cachlain’s court. Not only do your crude manners make a better fit, but you obviously can defend yourself should the diplomacy turn to— other means.” He led Shadowfox back to his tent while the rest recovered. “You have probably saved my life today. And for this you must be rewarded.”
General Goldtemple gave Grim a chest filled with gold pieces and a bag of gems.
After contemplating whether the act would offend Druemmeth, Grim ate one of the gold pieces while the Eladrin explained that he would lead them to the area where most of the entrances to the Stone-Skinned King’s court could be found.
“Your combat skills might see you through,” he explained, telling them the previous emissaries sent by the Daughter of the Frostwhite Forest had never returned.
“I fear they may no longer be alive,” he admitted. “Please try to find them. And get them released, if you can.”
“In this war, we face not only mortal danger, but a more sinister attack—an assault against our hearts and minds. The githyanki threaten to drive us to defeat through neglect and treachery. Neglect as we refuse to take the bold steps we must to survive, and treachery as our enemies lead astray those who could be our allies, and mobilize them against us.”
appealing to the Coalition
Shade knew her medallion could be used to find the patrols which Druemmeth had warned her about. She had not yet decided whether she should approach the Stone-Skinned King’s guards openly or try to sneak past them with her stealth.
Shade Shadowfox was particularly proud of her stealth skills.
Once they picked a hole and entered the underground caves which led to Cachlain’s court, she found a maze. Labyrinthine caves led every which way. So she tried the medallion, which was able to pinpoint nearby life forms. Unfortunately, it pointed almost straight down. She was pretty sure it pointed at the court itself, but it didn’t tell her much about which tunnel to choose.
“I guess I’ll just have to pick the one that leads most surely downward,” she told herself. “I know the medallion will be ready to use again in a few minutes.”
Before the trinket had a chance to recharge, Shade heard voices. The words sounded like Cyclops-accented Giantish and Shadowfox was glad she heard them before they heard all the noise her companions were making.
“Especially that dwarf.”
So she decided that diplomacy was the better part of stealth and approached them openly. When she asked for directions to the Court of the Stone-Skinned King, they took the party there straightaway.
“One might even think they believe they have arrested us,” she thought to herself.
But she said nothing aloud.
“I am saddened by the loss of Lyrindel,” High Lady Ordalf told Avenglen. “She was on an important mission for us. Perhaps the more mundane — and practical — resources of the Sword Coast will be able to help. Or perhaps the gods themselves are becoming involved.”
Cain was impressed with the king’s domain, despite herself.
The walls were hewn from purple crystal and supported in places with beautifully forged iron plates. The giant doors were unlocked or non-existent in most places.
As she descended into the tunnels, the air becomes cold and stagnant.
The purple crystal that formed the walls glowed faintly as they approached the court itself. Strange, vibrantly colored mosses and fungi carpeted the floors and walls, though the living quarters and common areas she passed through were scoured clean of these growths.
Slaves and their Cyclops overseers walked the halls, and she began to see a wider variety of fey as she moved closer to the heart of Cachlain’s holdings.
As she moved through the foyer into the main hall, she saw a faint light showing through purple-crystal wall on her left. In its light, she could clearly see the outline of a door.
“Secrets,” she thought.
A massive throne of purple crystal stood on the far side of the throne room. Cachlain sat there, looking them over with his grotesque eyes.
Like other Fomorians, his body was deformed, and his skin purple and covered in warts. Plates of stone are bonded to his flesh. They look almost like armor and are carved with elaborate designs.
Cain had been expecting the armor, but not the carving and inlays.
Next to the throne she saw a smaller seat, and when they entered, a human rose from this smaller chair — a slight, bald man, and carrying a staff of office. His eyes dart among them as he prepared to speak.
The most unique feature of this room is the floor. Giant panes of glass—or maybe smooth crystal—formed a window that looked down on an arena far below. She could see gladiators battling there, and she caught the king sneaking glances at the fight.
The advisor introduces himself as Sovacles, and stepped forward to ask them, “Why do you come here? And what makes you think the great king cares what you have to say?”
Noticing a faint magickal glow around the king’s head, Cain was sure the advisor was exerting some kind of arcane coercion on the king’s mind. This was born out by Cachlain’s subsequent behavior: Whenever Sovacles made a suggestion, the king was quick to adopt the same line of thinking.
Both Sovacles and Cachlain seemed interested when she explained the recent history of the Seed of Winter — the king seemed to barely remember why he had loaned it to a dragon.
After Cain entertained the king with a display of acrobatics, she began to see they would have to work together to accomplish anything during this audience: Whenever the king became distracted, someone would have to get his attention back.
As Cachlain clapped and praised her acrobatic skills — suggesting she might be a good gladiator — Cain realized the king was likely to be impressed by displays of athletics and acrobatics prowess. She surmised that he might take those he perceives as powerful warriors more seriously.