SESSION 35: Jailbait
The Pillarmen began to adapt and adjust to prison life. Each day they were conducted to an interview with Adrian where no more magic was permitted, especially a Zone of Truth. In his own words, "truth can be very misleading, and lies are so often more revealing." They learned of Adrian that he was a benevolent warden, more or less, who seemed to run the establishment on flattery and consideration rather than violence and torture. They also learned that he was discontent with the King due to secrets kept from him and a mysterious incident regarding his own brother, and he was slowly taking matters into his own hand by gathering information from prisoners -- or so he told them. He also mentioned that he would be willing to give them certain advantages in an escape attempt, provided they were cooperative, were forthcoming with valuable information, and if doing so helped him achieve his own ends.
Due to Sklooh's insolence, Adrian sought to break his ego by challenging him to combat. The warden provoked Sklooh into combat by injuring Igan unexpectedly and triggering the Lizardman's furry. Adrian soon realized that he had made a grave miscalculation when the strange entities came to Sklooh's aid during the fight, overwhelming him. The Disarcanites were summoned into the room and Adrian called for a Nihilstone to nullify the assault of Sklooh's spectral assistants. Even still, Adrian sustained severe injuries from Sklooh and his ferocious maw, and only narrowly escaped defeat with a well-placed jab of his dagger. The warden and a Disarcanite were injured in the fray, but they both kept their composure as Sklooh was taken to the infirmary. Igan noted that Adrian might be overwhelmed by as little as two Pillarmen in a non-magic fight... if his deadly blade could be avoided.
After that event, and after Sklooh was returned, tensions eased. The Pillarmen became familiar with the layout and occupants of the prison. Irthir, who was perhaps testing this Disarcanites or perhaps too unaccustomed to having his companion with him, attempted to summon his cat outside of the anti-magic fields. The mistake was short lived, as his cat was smote by several arrows by nearby Disarcanites. Irthir was brought back to his cell where certain comforts were revoked for his disobedient behavior. At around the same time Sklooh saw something in the foliage while probing the fences for escape options. Looking closely, Sklooh noticed Kasj observing him from afar, almost invisible in the tropical plants and rocks surrounding the prison. Sklooh made a commotion on the yard, attempting to pass a secret message to his Kobold companion. Sklooh then joined Irthir in being confined to his cell after a few words from Adrian and an order to double the security around the prison. Once Igan came back to his cell, Sklooh informed him of Kasj, and Irthir managed to make contact with Lena via a Sending spell. Lena returned contact and informed the party that she was on her way. Adrian caught wind of this, and despite being intrigued, he forbade Irthir from using any more magic under severe penalty.
During this time, Lena had been returning to the shores near the prison, contemplating her move with the words of Kaela on her mind. Lena initiated surveillance surrounding the prison, and took note of the consistent perimeter of military vessels. She also noticed a cargo ship supplying Arcatraz on a weekly basis. Attempting to disrupt the flow of supplies, she attempted to blow the ship up with a magical fireball, but the spell dissipated. Lena did further reconnaissance by locating weak points without anti-magic fields protecting the hull of the ship. She steeled herself and sunk the ship by arcane explosions, causes the crew to abandon ship. Once in the water, she compelled by magic certain crew members to drown others, causing an atmosphere of general horror and confusion in the waters. After sewing discord, shattering bones, and removing the burden of life from all witnesses, she retreated to the shore and lay in wait for the next ship.
When the ship didn't arrive, word began to spread around the prison. The food supplies would hold out, but certain luxuries and contraband were prevented from arriving. After many days without supplies, the prisoners began to notice the anti-magic fields generated by the Nihilstone were fading. In response, Adrian scheduled interviews with all of the prisoners and executed anyone he suspected of rebellion. Certain prisoners were placed under more secure observation until a new shipment of Nihilstone was brought.
Lena went out to sea and once more saw a cargo ship on its way to Arcatraz. This time, it was accompanied by a military vessel for protection. Using powerful illusion magic to distract the soldiers on board with a doppelganger, Lena was able to bewitch the helmsman and compel him to sink the cargo vessel. The crewman went below deck and after minutes of preparation the navy's guns began open-firing on the cargo ship. Soldiers quickly went below deck to stop their rogue companion. Finally, the crew discovered the deception and sought the real enemy, but not until another member of the crew had already been charmed by Lena. Spotting Lena and trying to employ counter-measures against her assault, the crew was once more too distracted to prevent yet another hole to be blown into the cargo vessel. The soldier was subdued and Lena carefully probed for weak points in the almost-sunk ship. Finding one, she unleashed her magic on the boat and it began sinking into the depths of the sea. Unfortunately for Lena, the naval gunship quickly began an operation to recover both cargo and passengers from the sinking vessel. Also unfortunate for Lena, she suffered an injury from a particularly accurate arrow loosed from a soldier. She felt she had to retreat, allowing both a boat full survivors (witnesses) and a reduced amount of supplies to make its way to Arcatraz.
Upon arrival, many of the saturated Nihilstones were replaced, but not all, bringing the prison's security up to a less than optimal, but sufficient level. The Pillarmen were summoned by Adrian and Lena's involvement in the delayed shipments were revealed. Also revealed, was that Kasj had been captured after Sklooh's tirade on the yard. The poor Kobold had been kept in isolation all of this time, first as an initiation, and continually due to her small stature being too agile to be held by conventional cells. She had attempted to burn her way through the door when the Nihilstones were inactive, but was unable to make it all of the way through, and the door was replaced with the new stones. Eventually, the Pillarmen would establish visitation with Kasj in exchange for information with Adrian.
The following week, as Lena went out to observe the ships' movements to and from the island, she saw a boat with her name imprinted or painted onto the large white sails, obviously intended for her as a way of getting her attention. While the crew of the ship appeared to be unarmed, Lena could not dismiss the possibility of a trap. Feeling her ability to conduct operations in this manner had been compromised, she turned to her original plan of leaving for Telor.
After her long journey, Lena finally arrived at the familiar mountain range of Telor. She navigated into their stronghold and was greeted by a bewildered Dan Malloy who was incredulous that Lena would return considering the Pillarmen having shirked their responsibilities to one of the most powerful men in Telor. Nevertheless, Lena demanded that she be conducted to Akasha's home. Once at her destination, Dan quietly told Lena that she needed to hurry in her conversation -- she wouldn't have long. When they were reunited, Akasha poured out her concern for Lena, chiding her for coming back. As Lena began to attempt an explanation, the door swung open and an orb of unnatural arcane darkness entered the room. Out of the darkness stepped Artel. From within the darkness, Lena heard a mysterious voice that bid her continue in her account of their adventures. Lena refused to speak, instead, conveying as much information as she could to Akasha through her telepathy. Because of her unwillingness to cooperate, Lena was abducted and taken from Akasha's home, leaving her spell-book for Akasha.
The black bag was removed in a dimly lit room. She felt the presence of others in the room, but they said nothing. Lena felt herself being engulfed in a magical force which she submitted to. She then felt an alien presence probing into her mind, gathering information from her thoughts and subconscious. After several hours of this "interrogation," Lena was released to Artel. He brought her back to his home, accompanied by Maccarray, the Black Dragonborn, and a gnome. Once situated, Artel interrogated Lena about the incomplete mission of the unicorn. He berated her for the ill-use of the body he made for her. With a few angry outbursts from Maccarray, Artel ultimately decided to imprison Lena and do with her what he willed. She was confined to a room, in which she was shackled.
Meanwhile, at Arcatraz, Irthir had been sewing the seeds of alliance by cunningly manipulating guards and fellow prisoners into a sort of prison gang in hopes of gaining some sort of advantage in the event of an escape attempt. Sklooh asked for an audience with the warden. Once granted, he asked that the Pillarmen be transferred out of the prison. They had been complicit in giving Adrian all of the information he had wanted over the course of their stay (information about Lena, Telor, Gods, Patrons, etc.), though reluctantly, and they wanted to opportunity to plan an escape as had been suggested in their first interview. Adrian admitted that he was satisfied with the information he had gleamed from them, but had been keeping them around in hopes of baiting Lena. Since he believed Lena was no longer coming, at least, as an individual with whom he could speak, he had no more use for the Pillarmen. Adrian considered his situation, and then sent for Igan and Irthir. Once all were present, he proposed a deal: in exchange for a transfer and information that would aid in their escape during said transfer, should they successfully escape, they must find Lena and bring her to him for a private, in-person meeting. This was the only way they'd ever be able to escape, he said. The Pillarmen deliberated, and agreed. In order to bind them to their words, Adrian had Igan cast a Zone of Truth and each member of the Pillarmen to promise to bring Lena to see him expediently in the event of their escape...
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