Filed: Forest Dance 25th, 3131
Forest Dance 17th, 3131
Again, RFC Pit Gravelheart and Yrsa Torbjon were on watch when the unnamed Elven contact returned, riding his horse silently into the front yard of the Floater House. The rest of Alpha Team were inside waiting for Anders to finish cooking dinner. Only RFC Shakhira Karma Kes Naser was downstairs with the women, giving Adalaide Morningside a rest in her constant vigil.
RFC Pit escorted the elf inside where he wearily took a seat. The alakar looked as if he had not rested in days. After calling his Rangers to eat, Sergeant Starwind offers the elf a seat. He gratefully accepts. Ser Frederick Krieger suggested he take a spare room and sleep a few hours, but the elf declined. Rather, he explained that he had far too much to do, that he was only there to brief the unit on plans and deliver supplies.
Per usual, Anders provides Ser Krieger a healthy vegetarian alternative as to not upset his “delicate sensibilities.” Ever since his objection to drugging the young women packaging the Euphoria Floater, Anders had fed the knight nothing but forage from the forest. Adalaide Morningside declined to share her meat this time. Apparantly, she had cooled toward Kreiger. For his part, the knight seemed to care little.
Sergeant Starwind swapped his own plate with Ser Krieger’s, before splitting the salad with the elf. Farspeaker Adalaide seemed annoyed at Sergeant Starwind for “helping” Ser Krieger.
After a quick dinner, the Elf delivered the Debrief:
The Great Conclave is Gathering. The mission Target, the Immortal, would be on of the last to arrive. Several other immortals, at least 3, were coming late, under heavy security. Because they travelled via magic and Sacred Groves, interception was nigh impossible. The best opportunity to get close would be when they were vulnerable, secured by High Council guards. As counter-intuative as it may have been with all the added security, with the influx of people into Eldara and the palace, reaching the Immortal would be easier there, than “on the road” against a small, private band.
The final itinerary for the Conclave and suite assignments had not be publicized and were under direct and sole authority of the Chief chamberlain, Eldias Amrylia. As an added security measure, no written records had been made leaving but one means of gaining the information. An Adept would need to get close enough to Eldias Amrylia to steal the knowledge directly from the chamberlain’s mind.
The elf turned to Farspeaker Adalaide and explained that, as a standing member of the Farspeaker Guild, she would have unique access to the Conclave. At least, she could join the prior night’s invocation. She alone could get close enough to the Chamberlain to gather the intel.
To maintain her cover, the Elf encouraged Farspeaker Adalaide to ply her trade. She would appear far less suspicious. However, she would be going in under her own name, so she needed to avoid any actual engagement.
Another “friend” would make contact and, when Adalaide was in range of Eldias Amrylia, they would engage the Chaimberlain in a conversation which would draw their thoughts to the Immortal. Once Farspeaker Adalaide secured the information, she could then, under the guise of her role as a Farspeaker, transmit that information to the rest of the Team.
Once done, her part of the mission would be done. Adalaide could then simply depart the party, join a guard and leave. Hopefully unnoticed before the true mission began.
The elf and his “friends” had managed to determine that four suites would be dedicated to the most exalted guests of the Conclave. All overlooked Lake Shaintar with covered balconies, and enhanced security. Each could be accessed by a single raised walkway with one entrance guarded by Palace Guards, two or three standing just outside. There were rotating patrols, and other junctions secured by squads of two to four guards.
To successfully extract the Immortal, the remainder of Alpha Team would need to be divided into two squads. Squad 1 would be required to infiltrate the palace, avoid the Palace guards and ariel Aevakar patrols, and guardian druids, and make their way to the covered balcony. That was the single “weakness” in the defenses, though with deadly archers in close proximity and aevakar sweeping by in regular patrols, it was hardly an EASY entry point.
Squad 2 would be required to infiltrate via another route, gain access to the secured palace and make their way to a guard station. There, they would need to steal uniforms and impersonate a rotating squad until they could gain access to the access gantry. Their mission was straightforward.
Once they reached the outer doors to the Immorta’s chamber, Squad 2s job would be to assault the guards, prevent them from making an alert or interfering with Squad 1, prevent any reinforcements from entering, and, if possible, gain entry to the suite and assist Squad 1 in their mission to take down the Immortal.
To assist, the elf’s “fiends” would supply the team with a special potion, one heavily masked which would create an area devoid of sound. This would allow them to take down the guards without nearby patrols hearing. And, the potion was created to emit as little magical signature as could be done.
The rest of Alpha Team would need to remain mundane until the assault began. Unfortunately, any overt use of magic by either Squads could alert the Palace Guards to their presence. The elven Palace Guards were specifically and uniquely trained to deal with magical threats. Farspeaker Adalaide COULD use her Farspeaking abilities, so long as it was “believable” to be part of her normal duties.
Squad 1 had the most intense mission. Once Farspeaker Adalaide had secured the location of the Immortal, and Team 2 had begun their assault on the guards, Team 1 would need to gain access to the covered balcony and make an immediate assault on the Immortal.
To assist, the elf and his “friends” would provide a Tempest Mage Collar and a high magic stunning rod. Sergeant Starwind would be given the rod, as his power was sufficient to power it. Another member of Squad 1 would carry the collar.
Timing was vital.
There were a few issues.
One, Squad two would need to pass as elves, if even briefly. That ruled out RFC Pit Gravelheart, Tearrag Twitch, and Phesus. And, as Sergeant Starwind would need to be on Squad 1, that left RFC Shakhira Karma Kes Naser, Yrsa Torbjorn, and Ser Frederick Krieger for Squad 2.
Squad 1 would consist of Sergeant Starwind, RFC Pit Gravelheart, Tearrag Twitch.
Phesus would be assigned to protect Adalaide and ensure her escape from the party.
There was another issue. The elf and his “friends” had yet been able to secure a route for Alpha Team into the Palace. Magic would be both useless and counter productive. Sneaking in would be exceedingly complicated and too risky. They also did not have sufficient plants to guarantee that should Alpha Team be smuggled inside sealed inside a container that they could control where they would be placed. In the worse case scenario, locked in a crate or barrel, they could find themselves trapped, dying starving and dehydrated in the dark.
It was the weak link in the plan. Twitch commented that he could cross over on a wire and it sparked inspiration. The team could infiltrate via the air. He suggested that he could arrange dwarven wright wings. Alpha Team was skeptical, but the plans were put into motion.
As for getting out the Elf promised to provide an amulet of teleport, though he feared the magical defenses would prevent its use. As an alternate, they would need to dive off the balcony into the lake below. Friends would be on hand to fish them out down river. They need not fear for the Immortal. Water would never harm him.
In six days from then, Alpha Team would leave their base of operations and make their way to a staging area where he or another friend would be waiting with their supplies and the dwarven wright gear for the Team to practice before the actual assault.
They would only get one day of prep. He suggested they spend their time preparing and finalizing their memorization of the Palace and guard rotations. Then he got up and left, fading into the trees.
Forest Dance 23rd, 3131
In the morning, Alpha Team rose and prepared to leave. Before departing, Sergeant Starwind had RFC Karma incinerate all the paperwork, information, and evidence of their involvement in the plot. He also spoke with Anders. Sergeant Starwind promised that, should he remain and watch the girl, that when they made it back, he would help him cover his tracks, and ensure he didn’t earn the ire of Red Store and the Mad Adder.
As a parting gift, Anders gave Ser Krieger a sack of trail food, oats, dried fruit, nutes, all flavored by honey. The knight seemed genuinely grateful.
Before dawn, Alpha Team departed, Yrsa and Twitch ranging out in front as scout.
They turned south and east, heading deeper into the elven forest. The trees grew to impossibility immense proportions, towering hundreds of feet overhead. The canopy so high it was little more than a dark sky. They were nearly overrun by a herd of stampeding deer, or moose, some larger than a small house.
That evening, they found an encampment in a small clearing. There, sitting alone surrounded by tents and crates, an elf watied. As the Team crept forward, remaining cautious. Just as they entered the tentline, the elf greeted them by name and welcomed them to camp.
He invited them to sit and eat. Food was already bubbling over the fire. As they laid down their kit and ate gratefully, he explained that all the supplies were there. Dark suites for Squad 2, their requested special gear, the magic items promised, and, of course, the dwarven wright wings.
Forest Dance 24th, 3131
In the morning, the elf helped the Team break out and strap on the wings. They all, save for Adalaide, Phesus, and Baby Bear, climbed to a platform over a hundred feet in the air. They slowly climbed above and stood on what had APPEARED to be a small platform, but was actually the size of ship’s deck, sitting on branches thicker than a ship’s mast.
From the platform, they could see a clear path through the trees to a clearing several hundred yards away. There, white stone markers indicated a “landing site.”
Everyone strips off excess gear, restraps their wings while the Elf ensures that each frame is correctly attached. Ser Kriger steps up and hops off the platform, gliding to a gentle landing right in the circle. One by one, each member successfully makes the glide…until Pitt steps up.
The dwarf, rather than leaning forward steps right off the platform, plummeting straight to the earth. At the last minute, he managed to pull up, but still hit the ground with enough force to shatter his arm. Adaliade and Sir Krieger rushed to his aid, with Adalaide offering magical healing. Even as they helped the dwarf to his feet, Yrsa slammed into the ground now far away.
Fortuantely, she was uninjured. And miraculously, neither of their rigs were damaged. Both Rangers too the brunt of the impact to their faces.
However, as they had failed the test, they were required to climb back up to the platform and make a second jump. Both did, and all members of Alpha Team passed their training.
Forest Dance 25th, 3131
Before leaving, Alpha Team dropped any excess gear with their elf allies. Wagons had pulled up nearby and porters were already loading gear and supplies into the wagons. Squad 1 took the first wagon, Squad 2 the second. Farspeaker Adalaide mounted a horse, and Phesus plodded along beside her.
For the rest of the day, the teams alternatively bounced along in their wagons, or ate road dust from the back their horse, joining the throng of visitors to the biggest event in Eldara for centuries. Inisde the city, Farspeaker Adalaide headed into the center of the city, looking for other members of the Farspeaker’s Guild.
The wagons split up, each heading to a different part of the city close to pre-scouted access points nearest their landing sites on the Palace roof.
Adalaide arrived first, finding a trio of Farspeakers dining outside a cafe. They recognized her badge of office, inviting her to sit and dine with them. The leader of the trio introduced himself as Farspeaker Eassman. He seemed quite taken by young Adalaide and paid for her meal, also inviting her to join them at the Palace reception. She accepted and entered the inner courtyard of the palace. Here only the elves and dignitaries such as the Farspeakers guild were given access. Security was extraordinarily tight. Everyone was magically scanned, and their credentials thoroughly vetted.
Squads 1 and 2 found their way to outdoor festivals. Dozens of other wagons, tents, and revelers had gathered to enoy the festival around the Conclave. They were outsiders, non-elves, and the lesser citizens of elven society, everyone NOT welcome at the Conclave itself. All night, the team sat, ate, and drank, watching the city come alive with fairy lights, streamers, and music.
With darkness falling, elven “friends” led each Squad to their staging points. Squad 1 was taken to an empty hut high in the trees east of the city, overlooking the palace. Squad 2 holed up in a small stone courtyard west of the city, crouched behind a low stone wall. Both teams quickly unloaded their kit, and strapped on their rigs. Then, all they had to do was wait.
Phesus was stopped at the gates and forced to join the other guards and porters outside the palace gate. Farspeaker Adalaide made her rounds, and then joined her fellow Farspeakers in the inner courtyard for the opening convocation. She made her way through the gathered, making small talk, Eassman staying close by her side.
In order to achieve her mission, she begged his forgiveness, but asked to strike out on her own. He graciously consented, but kept an eye on her. Undaunted, Adalaide located the Chamberlain Eldias Amrylia and moved into position. In moments, a young elven maiden approached the Chamberlain, handing him a message. The Chamberlain was clearly annoyed.
In that moment, Farspeaker Adalaide reached out and reached into his mind, sifting through his thoughts and plucking out the location of the Immortal. Distracted as he was, it was easier than she expected. Chamberlain Eldias Amrylia never sends her intrusion as he left to go handle some issue. Once a safe distance away, Adalaide sent the information to both teams. Then, making no commotion, turned to leave the party.
She very nearly made it out, but was stopped by Farspeaker Eassman who, as a gentleman, insisted he escort her at least to her guard. There was no polite way to refuse, and so, together, they exited the party.
In the shadows of the trees, Squads 1 and 2 moved into position. Each watched the sky, counting the seconds between flying patrols, and marking the shadows of guards on the towers and walls. One by one, each member dropped silently into the sky, gliding silently to their marks on the roof of the Palace.
Six wraiths glided through the night sky, landing softly on the roof. The landing went without hitch, but as RFC Pitt was unstrapping his rig and moving down the roof into position, he slipped on the slimy surface and lost his footing. In a heartbeat he was sliding quickly over the edge of the roof and down to the deep lake below. Before Sergeant Starwind could even react Twitch had already sprinted down the roof, spun, dug his claws in, and grabbed the dwarf just as he skidded out over nothing.
However, they were out in the open as a trio of Aevakar guards winged overhead. Thinking fast, Twitch nimly flipped UNDER the overhand, dragging Pitt with him. The brinchie warrior hung here, holding both them in the shadows of eaves as the aevakar winged overhead.
On the far side of the Palace, Squad 2 dropped down on a shadowered parapet and made their way down the staris to a small door set into the shadowered side of a small tower. They rapped on the door. Moment later, a young elf servant unlocked and opened it, leading them inside.
They follower her, padding silently, stopping to let patrols pass by. She led them to a small guard room and bade them don the armor quickly. They did so, Sir Krieger barely managing to squeeze into his.
Once appropriately kitted, the Trio exited the room, now dressed as Palace guards, and made their way toward the door to the Immortal’s room. Yrsa palmed the alchemical potion, and prepared to silence the guards. Squad 2 turned the corner and stepped onto the raised gantry.
Not far away, but high overhead, Squad 1 secured their lines and inched cautiously into the fast running water of a waterfall that spilled artfully over the balconies canopy and hung over the drop, ready to rappel down. Everything now depended on timing. They had to trust Squad 2 would be in position.
The time had come…