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AKAN1-2: The Depths of Airspur

AKAN1-2 The Depths of Airspur (4-7) (Living Forgotten Realms – D&D 4e) By RPGA. Kidnappers have taken the daughter of a wealthy noble lord. You are entrusted with the task of saving her before it’s too late. A Living Forgotten Realms adventure set in Akanul for characters levels 4-7.

Played on August 29. Scott DMed. PCs: Lyr, Elisanada, Bodin, Issyk (drow rogue), and Gunder (human shaman).

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Dear Mum and Jax,

Another whirlwind round of adventure with the Trap Finders finds me at an inn none too far from home, actually. We just rescued a young genasi woman from some gangsters in Airspur. It was a fairly sudden thing for us, actually—we’d met Gunder, who’s a big brute of a man from Cormyr, and were sharing a drink and some travel conversation with him. I had just noticed a drow lurking nearby—mostly cause I saw Elisanada watching something in the shadows that I hadn’t spotted—when our attention was drawn to a boy and some guards carrying a chest to some thugs. They argued, the thugs attacked, and the guards double-crossed the boy. Without help, I’m pretty certain he would have been done for. I think I was halfway across the courtyard before I realized my feet were moving.

We fought the thugs and the guards, saving the boy, who explained he was paying ransom to these thugs in order to get his sister back, but obviously, he’d been betrayed. The guard we captured told us more about the gang that had hired his loyalty away—the Hooked Claw gang—and where they might be found. He also gave us the chilling information that the girl was to be moved soon after the ransom payment.

We spent a little time confirming the information, then hightailed it through Airspur toward the lower levels where the gang supposedly headquarters. On our way, we were beset by fire bats, which were fierce, but we dispatched them—

“Writin’ another letter?” Bodin’s voice was gravelly. Lyr looked up, pushing her hair out of her eyes, reflexively. They were in the common room of a tavern roughly halfway between Akanul and the Dalelands, but it was only mid-morning and the tap room was all but empty.

“Huh? Oh, yes. It’s easier than keeping track of a journal. I just write a letter home, and Mum tucks it into my file. When I’m… when I retire, someone will put them together into a book for future generations.”

“Retire? Yer not thinkin’ of retiring, are ye?”

“No.” She sighed. “The other kind of retirement for adventurers.”

“Ah. I see.” He nodded. He knew about the other kind of retirement. The one with a nice burial ceremony in some gods-forsaken place overrun with monsters and sorrow.

Lyr kept the letter in front of her, the pen in her hand, but she stared at the page for a long moment, not saying anything.

“Bodin—about the other day…”

The dwarf shifted on the bench. “Aye?” he asked. Was this about the braids? The janitor? Their almost-kiss? Had she caught him staring at her? Why would she wear skirts that molded to her arse if she didn’t want—

“I don’t think we should kill prisoners.”

“What?”

“What you did… it was wrong.”

Bodin folded his hands together and gave her a very cold, direct look. “Why don’t you go ahead and tell me what you mean.” The words were measured, even.

“Back at Airspur, when we took those prisoners—”

“That guard…”

“No, not the guard—that was a fair enough consequence, and I have few qualms about slaying a foe who betrays children. But I was wrong to trust you to do the right thing with that woman.”

Bodin stilled. “I was wrong to trust you”, still echoing through his mind. His voice turned icy. “I See.” He paused a moment, then said, very coolly, “I’ll keep that in mind and will try not to interpret you walking away as any kind of permission or complicity.”

“That’s not what I meant.”

Bodin stood abruptly, his cheeks reddening with rage, but his words came out even, controlled. “It was a test, was it? You wanted to see what we’d do, so you walked off to give me just enough rope to hang. I am a warrior, Lyr. You want to know my character? I kill things—many things and mostly bad things, things that give ordinary people nightmares.”

“I know what you did. I’m not an idiot, and I went back—”

He turned and took two halting steps for the door before he paused. Without looking at her, he said “and you saw the price of their weakness. They allowed someone, some—thing, to willingly bend them against their will. To do something they wouldn’t normally do.” He took another step towards the door. Damn. He’d left his weapon leaning against the table. He turned back to pick it back up.

The look on her face made him wish he’d left it there.

She was… well, she looked bloody awful, like she’d just swallowed a frog and was about to burst into tears over it. He took a step closer. It was horrible—she was shaking all over.

“Lyr, stop.” He couldn’t say if it was a command or a plea. He hated to see her cry.

She bit her lip to keep it from trembling. “I’m—I’m scared, Bodin.” And just like that, the dam burst and the words spilled out like wine from a broken cask. “I try not to be—Most of the time, I’m all right. And when I’m with you, I get depths of courage that I didn’t even know I could have. I’ve never been friends with someone who actually made me a better, stronger, braver person.

“And then… Airspur. I know what kind of person I am when you’re not there. I’m a good healer, a good listener, and yes, a nice person, but I’m not a warrior. With you beside me, I am all of that as well as a champion, a hero.

“But stupidly, I asked myself, what kind of person are you when I’m not there? If you make me strong, do I give you compassion? So I walked away, in part to find out, and to not hold you back from being who you are.”

Bodin’s jaw tightened, and his eyes darkened, but he didn’t speak.

Lyr was quiet for a long moment, sniffling, then she shook her head, looking down at the table. “That’s not true—at least, it’s not the whole truth. There was a huge part of me that desired revenge—those bats nearly killed me, Bodin, and I was furious. I wanted the woman responsible to die. When I found out what you’d done….oh, I could have kissed you for it. It was deeply satisfying to know she’d died. I was glad for it… at the time.

“But… I always believed that being a hero means tempering justice with mercy, not taking out my petty anger on the helpless—not even when it’s justified. Not even when I’m not the instrument of revenge.

“You accuse me of laying a test, but it’s always a test, Bodin. Every minute, every adventure, every rescue—they are all tests. Every time your hand touches the haft of your weapon, it is a marker of who you are, who you want to be. Every time I reach for the will of the gods, I am asking them to judge me and find me worthy to wield their power.

“So, yes, that was a test back there in Airspur. You did not pass.” She took a deep, shuddering breath. “But neither did I.” She was sobbing now, and she grabbed the paper and crumpled it over her face, both to hide herself from the embarrassment, and to blot her tears.

“Ah, Lyr. So wise and willing to help anyone in need, but still too innocent to carry the burdens.” Bodin’s voice rumbled, and she felt his arm slide around her shoulders. “You’ll ruin your paper,” he joked, then grew more serious. “I canna have you doubting me, Lyr. After all we’ve seen, if you don’t trust me to be true and loyal, then I’ll nae stay. If you want to know something, ask. If you want me to do—or not do—something, say it. Don’t dance around and think I’ll know your mind—I’m no damned elf. The bats had us all good as dead many a times if it weren’t for Issyk and Elisanada, with me standing there the fool, unable to do anything to save ya-” he stopped. His voice had gone hoarse, and he paused a moment before continuing. “So while you wished for revenge, I sought it out, and gave into the wicked, underhanded, gutless way- shh… don’t interrupt—and destroyed the thing that put me into that place of helplessness.” She sobbed harder and leaned against his chest. It was hard as steel; he was still wearing his armor.

After a few minutes, she quieted and sighed. “Just once,” she murmured into his breastplate “I’d like to feel your arm around me and not worry about rust stains.”

Bodin’s spine straightened. “With you around I never know when I might need it. Besides, no self respecting dwarf would let his armor—OWW, I get your point.” He brushed her hair back, a little awkwardly because it was starting to get tangled against his armor. “I liked your braids better,” he whispered, but she must not have heard him, because she didn’t say anything in reply.

Dear Mum and Jax,

For reasons I can’t really explain, the letter I started earlier today got wet and all the ink ran. Instead of rewriting everything from scratch, I’ll just tell you about the final fight and fill you in on the rest when I see you: We defeated a harpy!!

See, the Hooked Claw gang had a kidnapping operation out of this old olive mill….

AKAN1-2: The Depths of Airspur
 

Hmmm… don’t know why there’s a strikethrough, but of course—I cannot change it because Obsidian Portal doesn’t give a preview and doesn’t let me edit. Anyway—it’s not supposed to be struck through. It’s supposed to be read as written.

le sigh

AKAN1-2: The Depths of Airspur
mortaine

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