Sunday, March 22, 2009

Side Quest #1: Ellira Investigates a Ghost

An episode from Ellira's past.

As a younger adventurer, Ellira worked for the Olemcorro arborist, Brais Lino.  As the most experienced arborist anywhere in Olemheiden, he often gets called on to investigate mysterious tree-related phenomena.  When he gets a report of a mysterious, ethereal stone statue that has suddenly appeared in the bark of Tamangawn, he sends Ellira to check it out.

At the site of the statue, Ellira uses her sensory concert ability and learns that unnatural, undead-seeming creatures are nearby, but the statue is not actually a ghost as everyone has thought.  Above a neighborhood restaurant, in a musty storeroom, Ellira is attacked by invisible creatures which she can see only in flashes.  (These later turn out to be ethereal marauders.)  Their attacks injure her, but not badly, and she manages to kill one and drive the other away with lightning.  Left in the storeroom is the mostly eaten corpse of an elf, apparently killed by the creatures.

She talks to Joris, the local bookstore owner next, and turns on her charm to the maximum, convincing him to let her look around his store.  He is taken with her, and agrees to let her snoop, but is ultimately no help with the statue.

Ellira takes a closer peek at the tree where the statue has appeared and decides to cut a hole in the tree with wood shape  and climb through.  She finds an empty shelf-lined storeroom and a passage leading away.  She also finds the statue inside.  It seems that some kind of glamer has made the statue blur around its true location, which is how the Tamangawn elves were able to see it outside of the tree.  Exploring further, she trips over a symbol of pain, and when the constables find her later, they agree to help her talk to the bookstore owner over the mysterious rooms that aren't supposed to be above his shop.  He stymies the investigation, but she is able to convince the constabulary that the statue is a real object and not a ghost by showing it to them.  Ellira explores the hidden passages, finding more traps but nothing that convincingly implicates the bookstore owner until she steals the statue and devotes several days to trying to dispel the obvious transmutation that has been cast on it.  She finally succeeds, freeing a dryad!

The dryad tells of using tree walk to travel to Tamangawn to speak to Tjaard, the local arborist and give him a message.  When she came through, she stepped on a glyph of warding and inadvertantly freed the ethereal marauders.  She promises a boon to Ellira for freeing her.

Now having a solid witness to an actual crime, Ellira recruits the local constables and then, late in the evening, she and the officers enter the closed shop and find a secret door into the back rooms.

Ellira, in a rare lapse of judgement, decides to investigate Joris herself while the constables go off to collect weapons to capture the store owner.  Behind another hidden door, she finds his hidden apartment, but he is ready for her.  They exchange words; he refuses to give himself up.  A brief magical battle ensues; he tries to hold person on her, unsuccessfully, and she tries to call lightning on him, but it is deflected by his lesser globe of invulnerability.  Finally, realizing that his crime spree is over, Joris casts teleport and carries his carefully hoarded knowledge away with him.

In return for her rescue, the dryad teaches Ellira how to cast displacement as a third-level spell.