Flying high on life.
Our little family decided to take a ride with the Barbarian Balloonists we have seen advertised throughout the city. I must admit to some trepidation when I first saw the balloon, but I was quickly reassured by the confident manner of the proprietors of the establishment. Fallix was most businesslike when getting us settled in the office, and Earnest was a font of useful information as we took our flight.
One unusual thing occurred during the flight. We were joined by a blonde man named Taran. Nadeira acted a little funny about him as we took off, but I thought she was just feeling airsick. As it turned out, she was watching Taran watching us. As we were flying over the middens of the city, Taran drew a wand from beneath his cloak and aimed it at Earnest.
We all reacted at once. Earnest was astonished when Otto stepped forward to prevent any attacks. Nadeira jumped in to grab the wand. As she took it from Taran a cord attached to the wand was ripped apart, stunning Taran in the process. Leto put him to sleep to prevent any further trouble. Earnest was understandably upset, and flew up back to the office immediately. Fallix offered us credit for a future balloon ride and gratefully accepted our offer to remove the unconscious saboteur from his presence.
We searched Taran thoroughly, but only came up with more questions. His eyes had multiple pupils, and there was a cord emerging from the back of his head. His skin also seemed to have been changed – possibly to make it tougher. We took him to Pythoness House to question him.
Upon awakening, Taran got his bearings quickly. He was able to answer some of our questions, though he chose not to answer all. He had intended to use the wand, a paralysis ray emitter, to stop Earnest from flying the balloon. He would make his escape in the resulting crash while interested parties apprehended us. The whole ruse was intended solely to capture us. It boggles the mind.
He spoke to us of chaosiotech. He spoke of his partner Kaylin, a woman who has been changes so utterly by the implants that she can only communicate through a direct link with others who have been modified with chaosiotech. He mentioned the Surgeon in the Shadows, calling him an artist. He explained what his various enhancements do: his eyes allow him to see in the dark and to see invisible creatures; the plug in his head allows him to control certain items; the fibers in his skin provide a type of armor; the heartbeat in his stomach if from an organ that allows him to increase his strength.
We sent a messenger to Kaira Swanwing, asking for assistance with the prisoner. We were somewhat surprised when her father appeared. We were even more surprised when he expressed his opinion of Taran. Much to my surprise, Naevin Swanwing is a fanatic in the strongest possible sense of that word. His dedication to upholding the law has become an obsession; in this case his obvious hatred of all thing dealing with chaosiotech made us fear that his intentions toward Taran were not entirely honorable. We were forced into an uncomfortable position: acquiesce to what might be considered murder by some, or stand up to one of the most powerful and important people of our acquaintance to defend a known adherent of chaos.
We made a decision as a group, and we intend to stand by that decision even though it may cause us trouble in the future. WE sent a message directly to Kaira asking for her help. Kaira was not surprised to hear of her father’s statements or of his excitement over the destruction of chaosiotech and those who use it. I hope that we have not earned his enmity this day, but I could not in conscience stand by while he judged and executed Taran with no attempt at redemption.
As it turns out, Kaira’s father does not share her approach to justice. He described her as soft, even weak. We think there is some tension between them over this issue. Kaira seemed anxious to have us inducted into the Knights of the Golden Cross as quickly as possible. We decided on the twelfth day of Rain, just two days hence.
Another matter of redemption has been settled to our satisfaction. The Cobbled Man was pleased to see us, bnut he was more pleased to be offered the chance to become more human with the Brotherhood of Redemption. We do not anticipate that he will ever be fully what he was, or that he will regain what memories he might have had. We hope that he can be given some semblance of a normal life.
We also spent some time walking over our new home, deciding on room assignments and making lists of things to buy or mend. Leto expects that we can fix many of the problems caused by neglect with a little judicious application of magic. I hope he is right – it would be frustrating to fix a balcony only to have it come crashing down again.
For now we will spend our energy preparing our home and ourselves for the next part of our life in this city.
Nadiera Bin Mustafa:
What a wonderful day for a balloon ride! We’ve been working hard on our new house and we need a break. We’ve been putting this off for far too long. We went to see the Barbarian Balloonists. So the ride is a full circuit of Ptolus, starting in Rivergate. It was all of us, except Raelic and another guy, Terran. He seemed pleasant enough at first.
It was very relaxing and entertaining. A truly beautiful and well-designed city, I think. Flying over Necropolis was eerie though. I don’t want to go there soon.
So, we’re all getting along swimmingly, when all of the sudden, I thought I saw Terran pull something that looked like a weapon or a wand out. I waited to see what would happen. Sure enough, he pulled his wand on the halfling flying the balloon. It wasn’t a tough fight. I mean, who in their right mind, would attempt to attack the four of us together? Come on! Well, apparently, he didn’t have a “right mind”, we found out. When I grabbed the wand from him, something like a cord snapped. It was attached to him – Chaosiotech! As we look more closely at him, he IS a pretty creepy guy!
So our nice balloon ride is cut short, story of our lives, and we take Terran back home to question him. So the plan was to paralyze the driver so the balloon would crash over enemy territory. I guess they were waiting to capture us. Is EVERYBODY after us?? His partner, Kaelyn, was scrying him. It would seem there is a tasty bounty on our heads. We sent for Kyra Swanwing.
But while we were waiting for her, here’s the weird part, Terran started talking about the Night of Dissolution, but in a way I’ve never thought about. See, we’ve been in with the higher-ups in the government and these guys are fighting for a revolution of sorts. Which I can totally sympathize with. He says tyranny abounds here and new rulership would be a good thing. Anyway, not that I was swayed, but I was surprised how torn I was suddenly feeling.
That’s just about when Kyra’s father showed up. He was just disgusted with Terran and “his kind”. First of all, I don’t like that kind of talk, no matter who they are. Second, he was just going off on this guy. He wants to remove the chaosiotech first, painfully, it sounded and then “judge him” and sentence him. So, basically, they are going to kill him, why torture the guy first? It just didn’t sit right with me.
And I said something! I haven’t quite learned to bite my tongue yet. I think I surprised (and worried) the rest of the group, speaking up this way. I mean, we’re supposed to really respect this guy. But, they supported me anyway. We ended up telling Kyra’s father that we would wait for Kyra instead of turning Terran over to him right now. He was NOT happy! Have I made an enemy? Do I care?
I am suddenly wrought with mixed emotions over so many things. I’m not as certain as I was before. I envy Otto. He knows what he knows and he is sure he knows it. I would like that kind of certainty. What if I’m fighting the wrong fight? How can I be sure? Is it possible that stopping the Night of Dissolution may be a mistake? My head is throbbing. I need a bath.