Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The Emperor's Second Peculiar Request

Beatriss & co. returned to Monastery of the Two-Fold Path later that week. They found more signs of structural damage—in one room, where they’d collapsed a wall, the ceiling had collapsed completely, half-filling in the pit in the floor. Heavy rains that week had turned the room into a swampy mess. Large reptilian footprints going up the wall before them showed that they needed to be prepared by anything.

They were not surprised to meet a dragon-like beast. They were surprised at the way it made their blood to look into its stony, languid eyes. They tried to fight without looking at it, but Beatriss stumbled on the crumbling stone steps—looking up for a moment, she met the monster’s gaze and was turned to stone. Naron, Feng Feng, and Bayan all fought with the swords, slashing through its thick scales so the steps ran black with its foul blood. But its death throes, it caught Feng Feng its claws and pulled him to its face so that he too turned to stone. Bayan and Jumay puzzled over how to restore Beatriss, but then Naron noted that there was another Basilisk in the room beyond. The party fled. Back in the imperial City, they told the Emperor what had happened. The Emperor summoned Cair, a foreign wizard who was a long-term “guest” (prisoner) of the Emperor, and ordered him to assist the others in rescuing Beatriss.

Cair promised that he could help them and the Emperor agreed to allow him and his associate, a priestess named Myrrha, to leave the Forbidden City. Bayan suggested they should also equip themselves with well-polished mirrors, hoping that they could use them to petrify the second basilisk that they would otherwise have to risk fighting with their swords.

The new company returned ventured once more inside the monastery. Bayan’s plan using the mirrors worked exactly as planned—the second basilisk was turned to stone. The next part of the plan—restoring Beatriss and Feng Feng—proved more difficult. Cair made a series of eleaborate gestures with his wan while standing in front of Beatriss’s “statue,” but she remained a figure in stone. He told Bayan that what he really needed was money—and help getting the statues to coast, where his ship lay waiting. If they could escape Xiao Deng and return to Faerun, he could call on the help of other wizards, and have access to magical materials not available—

Bayan cut him off. No, he had promised he had the power to restore Beatriss. And he had proved himself untrustworthy. She refused to compound one mistake with another. 

When it came time to consider how to carry the statues of Beatriss and Feng Feng back into the city, Cair showed that he was not completely useless. Using his magic, he caused himself to grow into a giant, strong to lift each statue and place it outside the monastery walls. He did the same for the non-petrified party members. Cradling one statue in each arm, Cair, walked with the others back into the city. The guards would not allow the giant Cair to approach the city walls. The party rested at a tavern outside the walls and, after Cair returned to his normal size, they hired a cart.

The Emperor ordered the statues to be displayed with honor and under heavy guard.

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