The next morning Merri, Elo, Felix and Zege wake early. Zege and Felix laze in bed, while Merri, bright eyed and bushy tailed, sets off to continue the work Elo inadvertently started the night before. Elo hides under the covers, wondering how she can get away with being bathed. Ghulkari, the kobolds and Quentin are still sound asleep.
Roughly 20mins after Merri leaves, there is a disturbance downstairs, and Zege catches the distinctive voice of a particular Drunken Master. A note is slipped under the door with Zege’s name on it, and he takes a look. The note is basically a summons, and the monk announces that he has to go. Elo checks the kobolds are sleeping and asks if she can come with him, so as to avoid them and the planned bath. Zege agrees, and the two of them leave the Inn and head to the edge of the forest.
There they meet up with Orock, who tells Zege that his time is nigh. Elo doesn’t really understand this, but the monk seems to understand. Orock pulls out a small white stone, and asks the pair to place their hands on it, which they do and they are instantly transported to Limbo, and the home of the Githzerai.
Meanwhile Merri has eaten breakfast, prayed for her spells and then wandered back upstairs to wake those sleepy heads remaining. She checks over Felix and Quentin to ensure they did not contract the illness that is present in the village, and then satisfied heads to the chapel to continue her healing work, leaving them to her own devices. Ghulkari & the kobolds remain asleep because no one bothers to wake them.
Meanwhile, back in Limbo, Zege and Elo are lead by Orock through the temple of Githzerai to an open-sided arena. Elo waits to one side while Orock introduces Zege to a venerable monk who explains that Zege has been brought here for a test of his abilities.
“Embarrassment is your calling” – Venerable monk to Orock
After some words of wisdom, Zege and Orock set to beating the living hell out of each other. The fight seems to be going in Zege’s favour until he makes a mistake and Orock takes the lead… maybe a touch too much. The brewmaster pounds Enezege into the ground, thankfully stopping short of outright killing his student. Elo jumps into the ring to heal her fallen friend, admonishing Orock as she does, and the ogre has the decency to look abashed. He helps the newly-healed half-orc to his feet, and Enezege mutters about how he’s failed his test. The venerable monk, however, tells him he has shown great progress today, and should return when he has a little more experience. The venerable monk hauls himself down and hands Enezige a pebble of his own – a small golden thing, with a diamond at the center and covered in strange writing – explaining it’s a hearthstone, and will allow him to travel between Titan and Githzerai at will. The two monks, master and student, bow to the venerable monk, and Orock leads Zege and Elo away. As he does, they pass a wooden pillar covered in notches, which Orock tells Zege that once a monk has passed the test, he can make his mark. He assures Zege that time will come soon for the half-orc. With that, Orock shows Zege how to use the hearthstone and they are returned to Titan. Orock tells Zege that they will see each other again soon, and leaves them standing in the snowy forest.
Meanwhile Felix and Quentin have risen, and are stood in the center of the village. While Merri is healing the sick, Felix wants to work out where the illness is coming from; Given everything they’ve seen, he thinks it may be magical. As he stands there searching for magic, he doesn’t pick anything up about the illness, but he does detect a strange set of coloured lights, which he discerns is part of a Dancing Lights spell. With Quentin in tow, Felix follows them into the underbrush at the village edge. Suddenly the pair find themselves faced with an unimpressed rhino. They high-tail it back to the village to alert Merri, with the rhino charging after them, carrying a boisterous bard, some kind of mage and a very grumpy orc.
About this time, Elo and Zege are returning from the opposite direction, and Elo notes there seems to be a mountain trapper type skulking around behind the houses, a pack of dogs at his heels. She motions it to Zege and the pair hurry the hell up, coming into the center of the village at the same time as Felix, Quentin and the rhino & company.
The rhino stops at the further end of the village, and the bard strikes up on his cittern (enhancing it with Ghost Sound), as Merri also comes out the chapel to find out what the din is. The bard announces he is Thadeus the Gorgeous, and he and his pals are there to pinch everything of value, so would the populus of the village kindly vacate their houses with all their pretties and things of worth?
Funnily enough the populus of the village run to their homes and barr the doors instead, as Felix points out that these thieves have picked the wrong village to rob because there’s nothing of value here. Merri points out it’s also a plague town, and Elo adds that they are here to prevent any robbing being done. At this the bard looks over at her, and remarks that she’s got some pretty looking kit, so maybe bandits will just take that? And he adds with a smirk, she looks pocket sized, so maybe he’ll take her as well. Elo is confused, too focused on sizing their opponents up, and Merri gently points out he’s taken a shine to her, at which the young watchman flushes.
With that, combat is engaged. Zege jumps over to Merri to get a fuller heal than Elo could provide, then jumps over to the rhino and attacks it. His intent is to cause it to throw the riders, but he only succeeds in dislodging the fighter, who lands in the muck. Elo rushes forward, the movement causing her to draw fire from the goblin hunter she saw before. He takes a potshot, but she defends herself. Meanwhile Felix has ducked behind the well and turned Invisible. He takes a potshot back at the goblin, as the latter sends his dogs in with a cry. The dogs rush forward, as Merri dispels the magic being invoked by the bard and the mage. This seems to nullify whatever they were using to control the rhino, as it bucks them off – helped by another swing from Zege. Elo dispatches the dog sent to attack her, and turns to see one of the cottage doors swinging in the breeze. She runs over as the shrill cry of a woman is heard, while behind her Felix has left a confused dog in his wake. Merri dispatches the dog set against her, and Quentin take a shot at the bard, while at that end of the village, Zege punches the poor rhino to death, and the fighter takes that opportunity to leap over it’s corpse and attack Zege.
Meanwhile, Elo has reached the cottage with the open door. She enters cautiously to see the goblin with a knife to a woman’s throat, demanding valuables for the woman’s life, while a little girl – presumably her daughter – sobs in a corner. Elo tells the goblin to relax – these people have nothing of worth, but does he see the pretty sword that Elo has? It’s much better than anything the villagers have, and she’ll give it to him in exchange for the woman’s life. Just let her go, and they’ll take this outside. The goblin agrees, and Elo backs out of the cottage. She puts her sword on the ground for him to take, and he exists the building cautiously. Suddenly he throws the woman down and lunges forward to stab Elo, but she dodges. He backs up, stooping to grab the sword, as, from nowhere, Quentin arrives and stabs the goblin in the side, killing it.
“Do you have any ranged weapons?” – Elo to Quentin.
“Insults are ranged, and do emotional damage” – GM, in response
Elo retrieves her sword, as Zege punches the fighter, and there is a scream from beside him and the mage dies, but no one is sure who has struck the killing blow – Merri, Quentin or Felix. Elo takes her sword and charges the fighter, screaming about these guys “are not very nice people!”. Zege, annoyed at her taking his kill, turns to take on the bard, who is standing frozen because of a Hold Person spell, cast by Felix. He pauses at the last moment however, and looks back at Elo, enquiring if they should arrest these two remaining brigands, as they have both, more or less, given up. Elo calms down somewhat and says yes, they should be apprehended. Merri grumpily goes back to the chapel to heal the folk, while Elo and Zege tie the offenders up under Felix’s magically watchful gaze, and Quentin is sent for Ghulkari.
The orc comes out of the pub, grumbling about how he’s overslept, missed another fight, and really, why does no one ever wake him for these things? The bandit’s half-orc fighter pales on the distant sight of him and starts acting skittish. Ghulkari greets the fighter, and it transpires that they are Father and Son. The pair get into a bit of a barney about who left whom and Ghulkari says he’d like to discipline the fighter himself. However, Elo interjects that surely that should be the right of the village people. The orc paladin reluctantly agrees and helps Zege drag the pair off to be held in the pub cellar while the others rouse the village.
After an aborted escape attempt, the bandits are dragged up to face a crowd of angry villagers. Elo reiterates the situation to the villagers, and asks for their judgment on the crooks. There is a small discussion, and one of the village Elders tells the bandits they have a choice: either they can spend a period of time standing around in the cold, getting pelted by tomatoes, or they can work off their punishment by clearing away the Rhino mush, disposing of their comrades bodies and generally making the village a bit tidier. The bandits opt for manual labour.
As tools are fetched Thaddeus the bard keeps up a litany of lewd comments towards Elo and Merri, at which the dwarf tells him his ‘charms’ won’t work on her, as she’s promised to another. Elo is surprised by this, but before she can get more than a “what?!” out, the bard is being annoying again. She shoves a broom into his hands, tells him to shut it, and get to work, as Zege and Felix lead the pair away. Merri returns to the chapel to continue her healing, and Elo, Quentin and Ghulkari return to the inn to eat lunch. Over the meal, Elo asks Ghulkari something that’s been bothering her since the night before: Do all Paladins get accidently worshiped, or is there something wrong with her? The older paladin sighs, and says that if anything it means she’s doing a superior job. Most paladins, he explains, get yelled at, or are otherwise despised for trying to bring justice and order to the world. Elo decides that doesn’t make her feel that much better. Instead of dwelling on it, she asks the barkeep for some other meals, and takes the food to those still working.