Realm Runners

CHAPTER THIRTY: Aces' Vision

Finding Eve


After emerging from the sewers of Iriaebor the group watches as Shade teleports away again. This time, the pull of it’s energy does not cause quite the spectacle that it did over Arabel. They realize that the Shadovar didn’t flatten Iriaebor, and can still hear voices from the village.

Cassi wants to return home and see if Eve is alright. Ehd’s siblings also want to return and see if there is anything to sweep up. The Solivan house is still there. The door to the cellar is covered in blood and bits of bone. Cassi gasps, “Oh my baby! Evie!” Around Eve’s “coffin” box is absolute carnage. With the exception of a single drop of black blood on her cheek, the rest of the inside of her box is pristine, and she is wearing a white dress, There is nothing left to kill. “Such a sweet little angel, let’s not disturb her.” Says Cassi as she closes the lid and leads everyone out.

The Solivans decide to take their chances and stay in Iriaebor to fix the house and everyone says their goodbyes.

As the band continues on their journey towards the sword coast, Something sweeps into Aces’ mind, another memory perhaps…She notices that Ree’vr is looking at her. It appears that he is having the same recollection.

The Vision


Aces finds herself sitting in a strange tavern, or bar, or something. There are dancing girls and it is massively crowded with all sorts of strange creatures. Vaguely familiar music plays from a performer she can not see. Across the table from her sits a man with a wide brimmed hat and a crooked smile. Half his face is hidden and he holds five cards in his hand.

Filling the seats between she and him sit a brown eyed brunette woman in her mid thirties who has folded but still appears worried. Her eyes meet Aces’ for a moment and she tosses her a defeated smile.

To her right, a bluish tinged and oily creature with a face-full of writhing tentacles, taps its long fingers on it’s own face-down cards, it’s big black eyes dart back and forth between Aces and the man in the hat. It appears perplexed at it’s bad luck.

On the other side, a strikingly beautiful girl with jet black hair and almond shaped faintly glowing eyes leans far over the table clapping her hands in excited anticipation.

To her right, a half humanoid, half animal. As if someone cut the torso off an elf and sewed it to the neck of a four legged hoofy thing, this one appears to be the dealer. Aces remembers the Jester on the bottom of the deck at the start of the deal.

She looks again at her hand, and holds a Queen of Spades a Queen of Diamonds and a Jack of Spades, she is dealt a Jack of Diamonds and a King of Hearts. The wide brimmed hat awaits her show and as she reveals her cards, the crowd awes.

When the wide brimmed hat slowly lowers his own cards, a rumble and loud crashing sound rips through the entire room, causing everything to shake, no one else in the establishment seems to notice or care. The cards hit the table, and as his hand pulls away, Aces can see them. The crowd whispers “All four Aces!”

The front doors are thrown open, a gust of icy wind blows in, and the crowd turns in their direction, the music stops. A woman’s voice screams out. “Aces!” a clear line of sight is parted between she and the door as people are literally thrown out of the way.

A wretched, olive skinned woman with a tattered, webbed black robe, long, dark dread locks and one open clouded white eye stares in Aces’ direction. She appears bathed in shadow and dark tendrils stretch across the floor from under her dressing. She moves towards the Mul with a gnarled finger outstretched and she can feel something digging in her mind causing her to become frozen in her gaze. She glides up to meet Aces eye to eye and whispers in her ear “Sona…needs your help.” She looks deep into the woman’s soul, and her lips peel apart in a hideous grin revealing sharpened teeth and blackened gums. A dark spittle drips down her chin, and with a cackle, everything around Aces turns to red. Mutilated bodies cover the floor, entrails hang from the ceiling and drip down the walls.

The woman continues her maniacal laugh and Aces feels a pressure in her mind and body. Blood sprays out of her every pore and her flesh rips apart like wet parchment. The walls around her explode away and the wretched woman howls in pain as an unseen force lifts her into the air and shreds her to pieces before Aces’ eyes. As her heart slows and her vision grows dark, she catches one last look at Sigil and the silhouette of a robed figure, standing in mid air, a crown of wicked blades wreathes it’s head.

Cold of Sigil


Aces wakes up to the sound of a baby crying. The diffused light filters through the slit windows of her Kip. Her pet inix, Jack, Looks up at her lazily from under a pile of blankets, doing it’s best to keep warm. It yawns, tongue curling in his maw, and lowers it’s head back down, returning to it’s slumber. She knows that this past year has been hard on the lizard, as it struggles to keep warm.

Through the window, she can see the vertigo inducing ring of Sigil through the light fog. It’s been a year and she still gets cage struck from time to time. Below her window a plump woman dressed in an extravagant gown attempts to calm her child.

Aces can see Jenn, her dark brunette hair blowing behind her as she moves with purpose towards her stairs…

For the past year since landing her butt in the cage, Aces has been working as a bouncer along with Ree’vr working as a bartender at a Sensebar named the “Tiefling Princess” located in the Clerk’s Ward of Sigil. It is owned and run by a githzerai named Ter’lin. The bar features gambling, drinking and dancers of all types, the star of which is a Tiefling girl named Ember. It is situated at the edge of the city in the Clerk’s Ward and boasts a window that supposedly faces outside the wall of Sigil, though nothing can be seen through it but a horizon-less smoggy sky.

When the three came through, Ter’lin helped she, Ree’vr and D’evon up and offered them all jobs working at the Princess.

They learned that they stood too close to an unstable astral conduit rift for too long, got the suck, and when it broke down, they were ejected into Sigil. No one knows why they exist, but some believe them to be rips in the multiverse caused by powerful magic at some point in time. There are twelve points around Sigil where these ejections happen. The one from the large cave on Athas ejects someone through the wall of the The Princess and out onto the street.

Jenn Knocks on the door and Ree’vr answers, greeting her warmly with his clicks and motions. Aces Wander over and welcomes her as well. Jenn let’s the two outsiders know that she has a lead from the gambler Fait, on a portal that may possibly send them back to their home world of Athas. She also tells them about an issue that she overheard earlier in the day with Ember having a necklace and a bank of jink stolen by a group of Plague Rats, a street gang that have moved in from the Hive.

Aces steps over to attempt to help the plump woman calm her baby, and sings a song from her youth in the slave pits of Athas to do so. She brings up the topic of the Plague Rats and the woman is disgusted by the mention of such, telling the three that she has seen them hanging out regularly in an ally behind “Angel’s.” A rival Sensebar of The Tiefling Princess. Through the crowded street glides Scribnib, who is bid hello by Jenn and Aces. The Mind Flayer drifts over to the gathering and probes their minds, offering a hello in return, and is met with field’s of daisies from Jenn. As the group talks about the Rat problem, a Dabus comes up to trim the Razorvine growing dangerously quickly into Aces’ and Ree’vr’s door jam. The four decide to head over to the alley to see what they can find out. On their way, they run across D’evon, who offers up a “Morning Losers!” on her way to Angels. Aces and Jenn are quick to throw out insults about the woman and her new position as star dancer at the other club. She is just as quick to throw insults back and eventually she makes her way into the club and the four head around back.

Jimbo and The Plague Rats


It doesn’t take long for them to find the alley that the woman was talking about. There are small scratched symbols of a diseased Plague Rat on many of the buildings in the area, and sure enough there are four of them hanging near a pile of barrels and crates. They greet the group and have a polite conversation about Ember’s missing necklace. The one doing most of the talking they learn is named Jimbo and he seems to be telling the truth when he says he hasn’t heard of any necklace stolen on the part of the Rats, but he will be sure to investigate further and report back with any information he can regarding the lost jewelery. The two groups say farewell and Aces and Jenn decide it best to hunt down Ember to question her.

The Princess and a Xeo


In the Princess, Ter’lin finishes pouring a drink for a regular and says hello to the four as he passes them by to go sit with Meeks at his personal table. They can overhear him complaining to the Bariur about the deteriorating state of the ward, The Angels’ competition and the Plague Rats, their typical topics of conversation.

Raszcal, a small ferret creature called a Xeo or Quickling dressed in a little leather vest and carrying a few dozen tiny throwing knives, hops up on a table in front of Aces, Jenn, Ree’vr and Scribnib to say hello. He is excited to see his friends, and wants to know what they are up to. They all know the Xeo to be exceptionally skilled in the art of stealth and information gathering, and ask the little guy if he would be up for a bit of investigation into the dealings of the Plague Rats in exchange for some shiny trinkets and berries. He quickly agrees and bounces from table to table on his way out the door.

Rat Den


When Raszcal returns about what he discovered and he says he can lead them to an entrance to their hideout. There are a few trap doors hidden in back alleys and he managed to find one of them. He tells them that their lair is a maze of twisting passages that extends nearly under the Princess itself, and that there are a few dozen of the gang members wandering about down there. He came to only one door that he was unable to get through. Aces finds this to be interesting, and asks that the Xeo lead them on.

They head back through the alleys to the trap door and Aces opens it to drop in, landing very nearly on a table with four Plague Rat members playing dice. They greet the large woman warmly and invite her friends down as well. They ask if she is interested in playing dice and she turns down their offer saying she has business with Jimbo. One of them calls out for Jimbo who wanders in from a side passage to greet the visitors. He says he questioned the majority of the Rats and none of them knows anything about a stolen necklace. Aces starts to get the sense that someone may be trying to smear the Plague Rats “respectable” name, and offers to look into the matter.

They leave the Den to return to the Princess and find Ember, when they find her not present, they decide it best to call on her at home…

Ember’s Kip


Aces knocks on the door of Ember’s Kip and after much struggling and knocking things over, she cracks the door and glares through the many locks holding it shut. She does nothing to hide her annoyed state that Aces has come to her kip to fetch her again.

Ree’vr and Scribnib decide to search around back and see if anything is going on and can hear another body inside, also sounding frustrated and annoyed. They don’t sense an immediate threat, and move around through the dancer’s front door to join the others.

Jenn persuades Ember to allow them entrance to have some drinks and talk. and they all sit around her large table. Jenn knows her way around Ember’s kip well after having catered and mixed drinks for many of her after hour parties and proceeds to make everyone some Tea.

A demon appears in a doorway from many of Ember’s bedrooms and looks positively mortified at the group gathered in the tableroom staring him down in his shorts. Ember teasingly asks the hulking beast to join them and he does so, awkwardly.

In questioning the red skinned Tiefling she offers up the same story that Jenn heard from her earlier in the morning. Her necklace was stolen by the Plague Rats. Aces can tell that she is hiding something and asks her again. Jenn also urges her to tell the truth and after some hesitation, she does.

What actually happened, was she was given the necklace by an admirer the previous night, and when she left, she pulled it off and crushed it under her foot then kicked it aside in a drain. When she was visiting the Princess earlier for her jink, the same admirer was there and she had to make up an elaborate story as to why she no longer had his cheap necklace on her person and never would again.

When the four are satisfied with her truth, they make sure she will be in on her dancing shift and bid her and her friend farewell, heading back to the Sensebar.

Fait and the Game


Ree’vr and Jenn head behind the bar to start their bar shifts, Aces takes up post at the doors and Scribnib enjoys probing Raszcal’s thoughts, while massaging the ferret with gentle mental tentacles.

It’s not long before Fait shows his fashionable hat and face in the bar, he nods to Aces on the way in. The two talk about pricing on his information to her portal and he quotes her around 4,000 jink for both the portal and the gate key. He asks if Aces would be up for some cards and she agrees. As they play, Jenn forms some pictures in her mind that Scribnib can pick up on from his seat in the corner. She expresses to him that he should pay attention to the minds of those who can see Fait’s cards and relay the information to Aces. The bar gradually fills, and there is a large amount of Plague Rats visiting.

Meeks sits down to deal, and an hour later, the pot has grown quite large, and Fait admits that he is cleaned out, but wants to play one more hand, raising the stakes just a bit. The Tiefling Princess for the Portal. If Fait wins, the Princess becomes his, with the stipulation that Jenn keeps her job and is promoted to bar manager. Fait agrees. If Aces wins, she gets the location of the portal, the gate key and all the jink on the table. Aces goes to persuade Ter’lin about the deal, explaining that in his later years, the bar has caused more trouble than it’s worth for him and she would give him the entire pot of Jink to retire with. Ter’lin is won over and urged Aces to play out the hand and win.

When Fait slowly lowers his own cards, a rumble and loud crashing sound rips through the entire room, causing everything to shake, no one else in the establishment seems to notice or care. The cards hit the table, and as his hand pulls away, Aces can see them. The crowd whispers “All four Aces!”

The front doors are thrown open, a gust of icy wind blows in, and the crowd turns in their direction, the music stops. A woman’s voice screams out. “Aces!” a clear line of sight is parted between she and the door as people are literally thrown out of the way.

A wretched, olive skinned woman with a tattered, webbed black robe, long, dark dread locks and one open clouded white eye stares in Aces’ direction…

Ultimate Retro


Aces wakes up to the sound of a baby crying. She jumps out of bed, and this time, greets Ree’vr and Jenn at the door and before either of them can utter a word. Aces runs out into the foggy streets of Sigil with Jenn and the Thri’kreen in tow, picking up Scribnib who is perplexed by all the rushing. She avoids the distraction of Ember and her necklace and leads the four directly into the Den with the Plague Rats, plays a few games of dice, and with the help of her Illithid, she wins nearly every game and walks out with a large amount of the Plague Rat’s Jink.

She arranges to purchase the bar from Ter’lin and pays for her friend’s drinks until the time that Fait shows up that evening. She sits down to play with him but is careful to watch the gambler to see if he is cheating. It doesn’t appear so, but she catches, out of the corner of her eye, Meeks’ subtle hand move across the deck.

She finishes the hand but stops the game before the big one where the wretched woman appears. She gathers her friends and heads outside to wait for the rumble. Sure enough, it comes, and through the wall a Gith is ejected into the street. Aces turns and crushes the confused Gith and is relieved it is not the nightmare woman.

They all head back inside, Jenn and Ree’vr return to the bar and Aces approaches Meeks to speak with him. He agrees and she leads him out behind the Princess to confront him on his cheating. Scribnib ducks into a shadow to watch the conversation, ready to back the Mul up. Meeks denies the accusations at first but eventually admits that he was bought out weeks ago. His family was set up for life. Ter’lin could retire and everyone wins.

From around the corner stroll four members or the Rats. Scribnib glides from the shadows and mind blasts the gang members, who each draw their blades. Ree’vr and Jenn run out to lend a weapon and very quickly one of the Rats get’s his brain sucked out and consumed by the Mind Flayer. The others yield in defeat and sit quietly until the matter can be resolved. Ter’lin comes walking out expecting to speak with Meeks alone and sounds much more well spoken than usual. Aces and Jenn turn their attention back to the Bariur and want the name of the man who bought him. Before he can answer, Ter’lin slices the man’s throat. Aces pours a healing potion down his gullet and revives him. Meeks says it was the Leader of the Plague Rats, and points to Ter’lin. They stand up to Ter’lin and intimidate him, causing the Leader of the Plague Rats to remove his Ter’lin mask and confess. “I would have gotten away with it if it wasn’t for you pesky kids!”

Jenn marches up to the man and demands to know where the real Ter’lin is. The man says he is quite safe and is willing to lead them to his location.

Mount Celestia (Almost)


The Leader of the Plague Rats leads the group back into the Rat Den and to the locked door where he opens it with a key. Inside are four illusionists channeling imagery around what appears to be the real Ter’lin in bed with two extremely hot succubi. When they are interrupted, the illusionists drop the show and the succubus wings and tails pop out of existence. Ter’lin pops up laughing “My friends! Ohhh! Thank you so much for such a wonderful vacation! I haven’t felt this renewed in a long time, what are you doing on Mount Celestia?!” Jenn explains to the man that he was kidnapped, and he has trouble believing the story. Stating that he “Won the sweepstakes for a vacation on Mount Celestia.” After a while they make him understand that he was had, and he admits that it’s the best “hadding” he’s ever experienced and begs of them to allow him to finish the illusory vacation for the remaining two days. The girls agree and the illusionists also agree, the Plague Rats don’t mind either as the room they were holding him in was just storage.

Scribnib takes leadership of the Plague Rats and all their assets, including the Angels sensebar.

On and On


Aces buys Fait’s portal map outright and they collect the 3.5 cranium rat tails in order to open it. Aces leads, Jenn, Ree’vr, Scribnib, Ter’lin and Raszcal to the location marked with she and Ree’vr’s names. It appears to be a mirror frame that has long been without it’s reflective parts intact, a small amount of sand lays below the skeletal frame. As she approaches, the portal opens and glows blue. A swirling vortex leads into the nether. Everyone bids the two farewell and Scribnib expresses his intent to accompany the two outsiders to Athas, they agree and Jenn gives Ree’vr a tight hug and nearly tears up in saying goodbye.

As the three dive into the portal, Jenn, Razscal and Ter’lin watch as a small amount of sand and water pours into the room from the portal. The Xeo cocks an eyebrow in confusion, looks up at Jenn and they both shrug.

The Princess Restored


On the way back to the Princess with Jenn and Raszcal, Ter’lin finds a small piece of paper blown against his leg. He snatches it up and turns it over, his eyes grow large when he realizes what it is…

Excitedly, he climbs a ladder outside the Princess to the magical glowing words that make up the signage for the Sensebar. When he sticks the piece of paper back onto the sign, more glowing words magically appear, changing the full name of the bar back to it’s original…

THE TIEFLING
Sensebar at the Edge of Sigil
Starring PRINCESS Ember
(With a Window!)


As Ter’linath Delraxianus’itanisan climbs down, Ember places her arm around him and escorts the old but recently renewed githzerai into the bar with a look of happiness plastered across his face. Jenn nods to Raszcal and he scurries up to the sign to remove the magi-note once again. This time, he runs into the bar and over to the window looking outside the wall, wads up the paper and tosses it through, where it blinks out of existence, he brushes off his paws and shines an adorable toothy grin back at Jenn.

Jenn winks at the Xeo, walks behind the bar, gives it a good wipe down and yells out.

“Okay all you cutters! Welcome to The Tiefling Princess! Who wants a drink on the house!?”

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Trysta

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