20 Elient, 1816.12
The following morning, around breakfast, the party tried to sort out the growing rift among them about the use of elementals in weapons. It was agreed that, for the time being, they would refrain from traveling to the Elemental Plane of Air to capture elementals for Kelmen.
Instead, the party agreed to follow another line of intrigue – that of the automatons and a means of safely getting inside one without notifying the Gearsmith of their tampering. Needing a rope trick spell, Sane proposed returning to the Hall of Speakers, finding Esmerelda and asking for a copy. Kelmen was supportive of their plans, but made clear that neither he nor ElemenTech could be tied to any illegal activity.
As the group traveled to the Hall of Speakers (and, as Silt pointed out, the portal to the Elemental Plane of Air), each member used a skill to avoid trouble. For her part, Izzy decided to play the clueless tourist and asked for directions. The cager she approached appeared friendly enough, but when they went their separate ways, she noticed that her coin purse was missing. Unfortunately for the would-be pickpocket, it was empty.
As they ascended the steps to the Hall, the group ran into the very person they sought – Esmerelda Froche – who was just arriving, her footmen in tow, carrying two large crates between them, from which snorting, growls, and what appeared to be the occasional furry tentacle appeared. Esmerelda explained that, in her enthusiasm to test the effects of the darkness, she had conducted an experiment on her own – by leaving two large boars outside at night.
As she tried to explain what happened – and as the party tried to negotiate a trade for the Rope Trick spell (Witherton offered to give her Sandwall for both Rope Trick and Bane – two which she agreed) – they determined that a magic circle would be needed to contain the creatures and proceeded into the hall in which the Mage Council would have its next meeting.
As Kurick began a ritual to speak with animals, and Witherton was busy copying the rope trick spell, Codex attempted to inscribe a magic circle. The party fell into one of its many roundabout discussions as she was trying to inscribe runes as the type of creature that needed contained (Sane insisted it was an abomination, some questioned weather or not it was still just a beast, albeit altered).
Suddenly, one of the footmen holding a crate lost his grip and it crashed to the ground, releasing a large boar, festooned with eyes, lashing tentacles, and acid-filled boils. As the party reacted the monster’s inevitable charge, and errant blast from Witherton released the second creature – very similar to the first, but with a long tentacle-like tongue instead of boils.
After trading some attacks, one of the Riftswine finally succumbed to its injuries and collapsed in a twitching heap. Kurik, who had dealt the killing blow, watched in horror as the numerous eyes extracted themselves from the corpse with a squelching ‘pop!’ and began to orbit him. Suddenly, the barbarian could not see – an uncomfortable pressure mounting around his skull as his own eyes were nearly sucked from their sockets.
Before too long, the second creature fell, it’s many unnatural eyes rising to become yet another disgusting swarm, surrounding Codex. Using magic, the party managed to destroy the rogue organs without losing any of their own eyes or being permanently blinded.
Some debate was had as to the safety (and sanity) of attempting to consume any part of the corpses – mainly by Silt, who decided to just a preserve a small bit of meat for later.
As the party traveled back to Kelmen Demache, thinking about how they would incapacitate an automaton, they suddenly found themselves surrounded by a handful of ruffians – led by the pickpocket from that very morning. The party, having no interested in anything remotely resembling diplomacy, tore into the hapless ruffians in full view of everyone. After butchering them on the street (Silt, again), Sane decided a massive Calm Emotions and a hasty retreat were in order.