As Bjorn attempted to enjoy himelf in the festival after a successful match in the arena, he was approached by Orlon, a halfling pantmaster. At first the paintmaster attempted to earn a lot of money by asking Bjorn to let him ink some tattoos onto the gladiator’s skin for a cost. The dwarf had no interest in losing money, however, an when he began to walk away Orlon made another offer. A contest of various artworks have been held as part of the Starlight Pageant of the High Sun, but Orlon keeps getting beat by a sculptor known as Marluc. Orlon thinks Marluc is cheating by paying Tyrian scultors with metal tools for some of their works. If Bjorrn helps him prove that Marluc has been cheating, he can present ink two tattoos for free – and he hinted at his tattoos being stronger than normal.
At the same time, Amare is approached by a shadow bride who goes by the name of Leaza. The safety of the Tyrian ambassador in Nibenay is not secure, and Leaza knows it. She promises to keep amare in favor if she helps with a little problem that the templars cannot attend to at the moment, for they are busy with tasks related to the Starlight Pageant. A cursed, metallic dagger has been smuggled into Nibenay by the elves and have found its way to one of the templars’ homes. Now the house is inaccessible, and nothing short of disenchanting the blade will do the trick. If they are able to fix the problem, Leaza tells Amare tht they can keep the dagger.
The party talks it out and decides that Orlon’s problem is easier to fix. They paid Marluc a visit. The half-elf sculptor wasn’t just an artist, as it turns out, but he also kept some breed of bird that he called chickens for food, and even offered some dipped in boiling oil. They were highly suspicious of Marluc, however, especially when the sculptures didn’t show any hint of chisel marks on the body. They began to suspect that sorcery was involved, and all save the halfling declined the opportunity to eat an exotic bird.
As they left, Amare noted that Marluc favored Bjorn above everyone else in the party. So they set up a trap that involved getting Bjorn alone in a dark alley. Sure enough, Marluc showed up again after the others were gone, offering the gladiator a chance to see him work on the sculpture for tomorrow’s contest. They went back to the half-elf’s studio, with the rest of the group stealthily following along.
Art by Kent R Caldwell.
Used for nonprofit.
Finally, Marluc showed Bjorn how he performed his sculpting – by way of the breed of birds that he called chickens. These delicious fowl creatures also has the uncanny ability to petrify its potential predators. Thinking the gladiator was alone, he set the chickens loose on Bjorn, hoping to turn him into his next award-winning piece. Thanks to Cypher’s not-so-awesome lockpicking skills as well as Amare’s better teleporting capabilities, the rest of the group got back into the studio in time to help Bjorn. They dispatched the chickens as well as Marluc (who turned out to be practicing sorcery illegally) and his two bodyguards.
Luckily, one of Marluc’s past “masterpieces” was a missing templar, so the authorities forgave the fact that certain foreigners took part in the killing of a Nibenese citizen. That he apparently works for the Veiled Alliance helped, too.
And so, with Renegade and Bjorn sporting new tattoos, the group decides that they still have time (it’s late, but the Starlight Festival means everybody’s up anyway) to look into Leaza’s dagger problem.