It’s Dungeons and Dragons time! Here’s the latest installment of the epic journey of our heroines, Danaeryzard and Alaria! (If you’re new here, check out the entire saga in order by reading the chapters organized on the D&D tab of this site!)
In the middle of the night, Alaria paced back and forth alone in the bedroom that she shared with Danaeryzard in the Barracks. But Dany was locked away in the Dungeons, and despite her best efforts, there seemed to be nothing that Alaria could do to help her. All the while, Tanar from the Midnight Ring was still holding the Castle Bookstore owner Samuel and his family hostage! If the Midnight Ring didn’t receive the etching that they demanded, they might kill those innocent people! Alaria was running out of time.
She did the etching heist on her own, technically. She could do the delivery on her own as well. There was nothing she could do to help Dany right now, but Alaria could help Samuel and his family. She concealed the etching under her cloak and set off for the carriage service to take her back to the Green Street Tavern in Drachen City.
By the time Alaria arrived, it was after midnight. It had begun to rain steadily. Alaria walked up to the guards at the door and asked to see Tanar.
Unlike their first visit to the tavern, Alaria was admitted in immediately. All eyes were on her as she was taken through the busy tavern and straight to the downstairs room where she had first encountered Tanar. He stood in the same place she had met him last time, with his arms folded under his black cloak.
“Where is the family?” Alaria demanded of Tanar, who responded with laughter.
“Oh! I thought you would be dead by now. Well done. I trust you have completed your task?” Tanar asked with an evil smile.
Alaria glared at him and opened her cloak to reveal the paper hidden in an inside pocket. This seemed to be enough evidence for Tanar, who suddenly stomped his foot on the wooden floor three times. Near his feet was a trap door, which sprang open and a woman and two children began making their way out of a crawl space. Samuel came out last. They were all blindfolded and had their hands bound before them, making the process a bit clumsy. But they otherwise appeared to be unharmed.
“Give me the etching,” Tanar said simply.
“Not until you release this innocent family,” Alaria bluntly replied.
“Fine. I’ll let the woman and children leave, then you give me the etching, and I will release Samuel. Fair?”
Tanar removed their blindfolds and instructed the mother and her two children to go upstairs and leave, and then relayed a message via his black chat ring to some of his associates to let the family exit. Tanar held out his hand, and Alaria reluctantly gave him the etching of the engravings from the Princess’ Diadem. She was slightly nervous because she didn’t know the meaning of these etchings or what the consequences will be for sharing this secret information with the Midnight Ring. But it’s not like she had any choice in the matter!
Once Tanar received the slip of paper and glanced at it, he was satisfied. He released Samuel and told them to leave the tavern. The exchange was complete.
As they exited the tavern, Alaria asked Samuel how he got mixed up with the Midnight Ring. He wasn’t so sure himself; all he knew was that a bunch of thugs wearing masks came into his shop… and after that, his mind was a blank. He had no memory of leaving his store, or his family getting captured, or getting into that little crawl space. Samuel seemed pretty distraught about his strange amnesia, and the fact that his family had been through this ordeal. They all hugged outside, and even Alaria gave Samuel a hug to try and reassure him that she was there to help. She offered that the family take the carriage service with her back to the Castle Bookstore, since their home was on the second floor of the shop.
“Do you still have the translations, by any chance? The Orc translations that Esmeralda had sent me and my partner to retrieve from you?” Alaria asked Samuel during the ride.
“As a matter of fact, I do still have them. Whatever the Midnight Ring was looking for in my shop, it wasn’t those translations. I am pretty sure I’ll find them for you,” Samuel said, just as they were pulling up in front of the store. The Castle Bookstore was still in shambles, the door wide open, books strewn everywhere, shelves knocked over… and the coinbox still safely locked.
After some shuffling around of books and papers, Samuel was able to find the sealed envelope addressed to Esmeralda of the Expeditionary Guard. He handed it to Alaria, looking weary. “I hope this was worth it.”
Alaria thanked Samuel for the translations. This is what she and Dany had been sent to the city to retrieve, and Alaria felt sad that Dany was still sitting in the Dungeon. Alaria rode the carriage service back to the Castle Barracks and resolved that she would try to use these translations as leverage to get Dany freed. She was determined to go straight to Esmeralda – but not before pickpocketing the carriage driver and getting her cab fare back.
Luckily, Esmeralda was still awake and in her usual spot, pouring over paperwork at a big table in the Great Hall in the Barracks. Esmeralda looked tired and stressed, and when Alaria approached her she tried to turn the Tiefling away.
“But Esmeralda, I have the translations that you sent Dany and me to retrieve. Don’t forget, Dany worked on this mission too. If I hand over these translations, I want you to promise me that Danaeryzard will be freed.”
Esmeralda sighed. “I told you, this is out of my hands.” Alaria asked if she could visit Dany in the Dungeons, but even that was forbidden. “I will let Dany know that you were able to complete the mission, and that you have been trying to visit her. That’s all I can do for now, but please know that I am fighting for her every day.”
Frustrated but out of options, Alaria handed over the sealed envelope. Esmeralda tucked it away in her pouch without opening it. Alaria decided to go off to bed.
Meanwhile, after her third day in the Dungeons, Dany was getting extremely restless and angry. As a prisoner, she felt that she was constantly being judged for her Dragonborn race. Guards would call her derogatory names and beat her when they visited her cell to give her daily rations of bread and water. The only conversations Dany had were with guards asking her all sorts of questions. It felt like an inquisition as they prodded her for a motive to burn down the South Hall. Dany repeated that the whole thing was an accident, and it frustrated the guards. Finally, on the third day, Esmeralda showed up at Dany’s barred cell door.
Without speaking, Esmeralda revealed a key and opened the door.
“Follow me. But don’t get too excited – this isn’t over yet.”
Esmeralda led Dany to the Officer’s Post area of the Barracks, where Dany had never been before. It was filled with desks and workers, who were all staring at Dany. News about “The Dragonborn Who Tried to Burn Down the South Hall” had spread rapidly around the castle. They walked into Esmeralda’s Main Office and Esmeralda shut the door behind them.
“Everyone is concerned, Danaeryzard. The South Hall is a big deal; it’s a museum of priceless heirlooms of the royal family. It’s up to the royal family how to respond to a threat to their private property, and they do not take these things lightly. I was able to get you released from the Dungeons, but you are not free. You are to remain within the Castle grounds at all times, and you are not permitted to leave at any time. Hopefully the royal family will change their mind on this eventually, once you have proven to them that you are trustworthy. But for now you have to comply. In addition, all of your duties are now suspended, for the most part. And so are Alaria’s.”
Dany gasped upon hearing this, and at the same moment, Alaria entered the office with Ragnar on her shoulder. She had been summoned by chat ring while Esmeralda was transporting Dany out of the Dungeon. Alaria was happy to see that Dany was out of her cell, but was otherwise very confused. Esmeralda broke the news to Alaria that they were no longer going on missions, and the two partners were upset.
“Don’t worry, we will still have something for you two to do. You will have to earn your room and board somehow, so I’ve enlisted you both in our Combat Training program. You two will participate in supervised drills instead of doing guard duty. Don’t despair. I believe eventually the Princess will change her mind and you can resume your duties as before. Just give it some time,” Esmeralda continued to explain. Then she instructed Dany to return to their room in the Barracks, take a bath and try to clean the Dungeon-stench off. Esmeralda also advised Dany to lay low for a few days, as most of the guards were not very happy with her. Dany walked out without saying a word to Esmeralda, but waved a quick hi to Alaria as she left the office.
Alaria started getting up to follow Dany, but Esmeralda stopped her. “I’m counting on you to keep an eye on her. You’re both on very thin ice right now. Do not let Dany leave the castle. You two need to train more and we both have to make sure Dany learns to properly control her breath weapon.” Alaria nodded, feeling that this treatment was extremely unfair, but unable to do anything about it.
“Oh! I also have an update on the Orc translations! Come with me.” Esmeralda led Alaria to another part of the Main Offices – a grand Library filled with books, maps and globes.
When they arrived, Esmeralda continued, “It turns out that the Orc writing on one of the building schematics was actually the title of a book… and it makes the situation worse. You see, Water’s Edge was once the location of an ancient Orc empire. It was these ancient Orcs who really discovered the power of the magic crystals. And the book referenced here is a book that explains how to control those crystals. We happen to have a copy of this ancient tome, and I have hired Samuel once again to translate it.”
They reached a table where Samuel was busy scribbling into a notebook, while glancing at an ancient leather-bound book every two seconds. He looked up and saw Alaria, and gave her a big smile. But then he looked at Esmeralda and his face grew solemn.
“Esmeralda… I think I know what the Sun Wizard is looking to do next. You see, this structure is made of crystal.” Samuel pointed to an illustration in the book. “I fear that the Sun Wizard is working on… achieving immortality. One of these crystal structures is the Library at Water’s Edge, this much we know. But the other is in Toril. The Orc Homeland.”
They shared silence for a moment as they all processed what this terrible news meant. Then Esmeralda sighed and thanked Samuel once again for his knowledge and assistance. Then she turned to Alaria and asked what she thought.
“I think Dany needs to be able to leave the castle so that she and I can further investigate this,” Alaria snapped. She was still upset about Dany’s punishment, and the fact that Alaria was being punished right along with her partner.
“You know the situation right now, Alaria. Please don’t make this more difficult. Now, I want you to rest up with Dany for two days, and then come report to Combat Training.” Esmeralda commanded Alaria.
Back in their Barracks room, Dany had finished a bath and Alaria was grooming Ragnar. They were both pretty angry at the situation, and didn’t know what to say. They thought about that fateful day when they had first started traveling together, and were given a choice to join the Expeditionary Guard or the Midnight Ring.
“Do you think we made the wrong choice?” Alaria asked. After what Dany had been through, she wasn’t really sure what the right choice might have been.
On training day, the duo prepared their weapons and were a little excited to go outdoors and have a little excitement. It was better than being cooped up in their room in the Barracks.
“Welcome to Day One of Specialized Combat Training,” Esmeralda greeted them as they approached the training site. They had been instructed to meet at a special training area that was designed to look like a real city block. There were fake stores and townhouses along the road, and it looked very realistic. “This is a simulated street for combat in an urban setting. You see this building behind me?”
She pointed to a large two story building with a pointed roof.
“Today’s Mission: Don’t let anyone in this building. I’ll observe.”
Dany and Alaria looked at each other, trying to hide their confusion. They had no idea where to begin.
And so ends the latest installment of our DnD adventures! Thanks for reading! I hope you like this ongoing storyline lol! If you play Dungeons and Dragons too, let’s hear about your character in the comments! 🙂