Tales From Janus Valley

Unmasked!

The Game is Up

The Keepers were a strange lot. From their hidden grove in the Trackless Fen, they had been gathering in number to recover the mysterious amulet from Magistrate Krisella. Their leader, an ancient elf named Naymax, told the harrowing tale of the dreaded Bone Butcher. The creature had been summoned by a long-dead conqueror to serve as the ultimate weapon of terror and destruction. Its master slain, the creature was imprisoned for centuries until its prison was discovered and broken up for scrap. The amulet was the only known part of the prison that remained, and, the druids believed, still had some sway over the creature.

Reluctantly, Krisella Blackwood pulled out the amulet and gave it to the druid. Rejoicing, Naymax and the other Keepers offered to help the party in joint revenge against Falsella. The druids had lost brothers at the hands of her anti-shapeshifter alchemy, and were eager for payback. The heroes would lie in wait while the druids funneled her towards their position. At the signal, the druids would attack her bodyguards, distracting them long enough for the party to abscond with Falsella for questioning, and presumably torture. It was a solid plan that was sure to play out without a hitch.

The morning saw the party gathered on the crooked street called Beggar’s Walk. a few vagrants loitered nearby. Falsella and her pack of bodyguards arrived, right on schedule. Hidden from sight, Dashiel launched the signal; a pair of arrows aimed at the magistrate’s face. They both missed, and all hell broke loose as the cabal of druids fell from the sky in animal form. From the seething mass of clashing blades and snarling beasts, the fake magistrate flew at Dashiel, checking him into the wall as the rest of the party closed in.

The real Krisella Blackwood engaged her counterpart, who was no stranger with a blade. They traded blows, only for a startling development to take place. Falsella nicked Krisella Blackwood with a specially-treated blade… and the game changed in a big way. Unable to maintain her carefully chosen disguise, Krisella Blackwood stood revealed as a changeling. Falsella stared, dumbstruck, and muttered a few words that no one understood. Visok and Amare kept to the plan, and attacked the Magistrate. Rather than fighting, she dropped her own disguise, showing herself to be a changeling as well! She then bolted for the end of the alleyway, with Krisella Blackwood in hot pursuit.

Dashiel wasn’t entirely sure what to make of the developments, but with an uncanny shot, he destroyed the runed tile that he knew to be tied to the uncanny escapes their adversaries had been exhibiting. Boxed in, and under attack by Zed, Krisella Blackwood and the imposter climbed onto a neighboring building, frantically looking for a getaway.

A timely diversion came when a third Krisella appeared on a neighboring building, got everyone’s attention, and then blinded the congregation with brilliant explosives before attempting a getaway. Her escape was cut short, however, when Naymax intervened, taking the most recent Krisella hostage and unleashing a devastating spell that caused crushing vines to erupt from the street, ensnaring the party, and the bodyguards, and crushing several unfortunate beggars.

In the aftermath, Falsella felt it was time to come clean. The other magistrate was her sister. Together, the two of them had fallen into the position after borrowing the heroes’ identities to capitalize on their good reputations. The two were actually conwomen, who had adopted the identity of Mr. Killgrave to scam money from crooks in Maynard’s Crossing. The “bounty” they’d placed on the heroes was a pittance designed to draw the heroes’ eyes off the Magistrate in the hopes of keeping them occupied had they ever returned. She apologized for the trouble, and offered to free the adventurers and aid them against the murderous druids in exchange for helping her recover her sister. The party was divided on trusting the changeling, but agreed that The Keepers’ wholesale slaughter of innocent beggars needed to be punished.

A lot of mistrust was still brewing, but the newly outed imposter (Sil, by name) offered what assistance she could. Using an enchanted doorknob in conjunction with a network of specially runed tiles, Sil and her sister, Lexa, were able to travel from tile to tile almost instantaneously throughout Maynard’s Crossing. Arriving at the druid’s grove, the party had just enough time to recover the amulet from the druid’s lackluster hiding place. Krisella Blackwood pocketed her former keepsake, over the rest of the party’s protestations. The Keepers arrived soon after, unhappy to see their former allies seething with betrayal and furious about the deaths of civilians. A fight inevitably erupted.

Sil proved her mettle in combat, wielding a massive two-handed sword, while Lexa utilized metal constructs and magical concoctions to assist the uneasy alliance. The druids were quickly dispatched, but not before the Naymax escaped in the form of a swarm of locusts, promising revenge when the rest of his order arrived. The real threat, however, was the feelings of betrayal that now divided the party. On one side, Krisella (or Kree, rather), Sil, and Lexa. On the other Zed, furious at being lied to, Visok, furious about having a price on his head, and Amare, who narrowly prevented party-on-party violence. Compromised, team shapeshifter was ordered to leave the city and never return.

Opposition defeated, what remained of the party returned to Maynard’s Crossing to spread the word about the shapeshifters. Shopkeeper Azir wasn’t as shocked as they anticipated, and reminded them that Krisella Blackwood had proven herself a friend to him, regardless of what she looked like. He also asked about the whereabouts of the amulet, reminding them that The Bone Butcher would be back… an amulet that Krisella Blackwood had recovered from the druids once again. Dauntless, the party headed towards the city guard headquarters to reveal the truth about the magistrate’s identity only to be sidetracked by the sounds of chaos. in a street strewn with bodies and drenched in blood, The Bone Butcher turned to the party. “yOU dIE nEXT….”

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DM_Duende

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