Where did our heroes last begin? Ah, yes…
Vallaki’s guard was having none of their nonsense, and so Adrien entered to deliver the wine on his own. Even just communicating with the men on duty was a challenge. Thankfully, Teddy had crafted a beautiful, handwritten love note to the Bungmaster ahead of time and handed it off to Adrien, requesting its safe delivery.
At this point, the sun loomed low in the sky, and without permission to camp nearby, our party realized their best bet for a safe night’s rest would be in the Vistani camp. When they arrived, they discovered festivities, as Lavash and his people celebrated his precious daughter’s safe return.
Lavash welcomed the group with open arms, inviting them to join them in drink and merriment. In an aside, someone remembered to ask about the fate of Arabelle’s kidnapper; Lavash said they sent him back to Vallaki, that they saw something was very wrong with him, and that they assured he wouldn’t try anything like that ever again.
After partaking in some wine, Teddy found a lute and, to everyone’s surprise (including his own), strummed it with finesse (or maybe everyone was just too drunk to notice otherwise?).
Teddy and Maxine contributed music to the gaiety, and a good time was had by all.
But still, our heroes had already had a long day, so one by one, they trickled out to sleep. Only Nameless remained in the party tent by the end of the night’s festivities, curled up cozily by the fire and dozing off.
Voices awoke her in the wee hours of the morning. Arigal and Lavash argued in harsh whispers over the fate of our heroes; Lavash felt they should be welcome but Arigal insisted that they were suspicious, pressuring his brother until Lavash agreed that he would see them “dealt with”.
Nameless snuck off to her group’s tent, waking everyone from their sleep to warn them of the brothers’ ominous agreement. They organized a double watch in response, ensuring safety as they finished their rest with a plan to leave at first light.
When they returned to Vallaki’s city wall the next morning, a solitary figure awaited them…
Fezzik, er, Izzek, none other than the Bungmaster’s own right hand man. Teddy’s letter was received, and their response was to send him. He invited them in and, when they hesitated to enter, clarified that this was their one chance to set things right with the Bungmaster. Our heroes collectively decided to give it a shot and entered, giving their weapons to the guards.
Izzek led them to the Bungmaster’s mansion where the man himself awaited them. He didn’t accept their apology until he had Teddy groveling on hands and knees. Maxine offered the fine wine from the Wizards as a gift, and Teddy purified the contents in a show of good faith.
The Bungmaster told them he will allow them to travel within Vallaki once more on two conditions. First, they must attend Burning Man as his guest and proclaim to the people that all will be well. Second, he requires a favor of them, which they are led inside to discuss with Izzek.
Izzek explained in private that the Bungmaster needs our heroes to take care of Mrs. Watchner, who appears to lead a faction of townspeople who plot against him. She is a thorn in their side and she must be eliminated as a threat.
The heroes agreed, if only for this opportunity to freely explore Vallaki once again. While some (cough, Teddy) felt honor bound to observe this promise, others began to plot to investigate this Watchner character, and perhaps even assist her.
Izzek also mentioned that the heroes have found themselves a groupie and/or stalker. He pointed out the mysterious figure through the curtains, but no one was able to identify it. Teddy’s majestic steed tried to help but got distracted by some grass or something.
The guards returned their weapons, and with time to spare before the festival begins, the group split up.
Some went directly to the tavern, where they found Adrien and Irwin. Adrien was on his way out and insisted that he would be fine in completing his wine delivery route, even without an escort. After all, his family has the ravens. Irwin also shared the sad tale of how their family split up: the winery originally had three gems that helped the vines grow on the barren land, but the family blamed Irwin for one’s disappearance. He urges them to help find the last gem.
Also, everyone ate some breakfast.
The party members who split off return in time to catch up with the rest of their group and describe what they saw in the town square where the Burning Man festival was being prepared. They discovered implements of torture and humiliation, and the group grows concerned about how such implements will be used.
Nameless cleans up and, in a moment of embarrassment, everyone realizes that the putrid stench they’d been blaming her for was themselves, all along. Surprise, now it’s bath day for everybody!
All prettied up, they head to the festival.
Burning Man began with a parade populated by sad-looking children in flower costumes. The Bungmaster and his wife followed them on horses, waving to their people. He bore a torch, and as he dismounted and walked toward the platform where the wood had been assembled for burning…
The sky opened up and rain fell in a torrential downpour.
Everyone fell silent as they watched the mortified official’s torch go out… except for one. Brad, recognized by the group as that easily-bribed guard from a few days ago, laughed.
UGH, GOOD JOB BRAD
The Bungmaster ordered him seized, bound, and tied to the back of a horse to be made an example of. BB stepped in, pretending to check the knots in the rope, then cut it in a show of defiance.
BB NOOOOOOO WHAT ARE YOU DOING
And of course, in typical righteous-ass Teddy fashion, the Bear stepped up and volunteered himself in Brad’s place.
GOD DAMN IT TEDDY
Bungmaster did not take this well, and things heated up as other members of our heroes’ party spoke up against his warped sense of justice.
“Guards! Arrest them!”
Just as our heroes found themselves surrounded, they realized one of their party was missing.
“Where’d Alathena go?”
Someone sighed. “Probably off practicing kissing with her creepy fleshlight hand again.”
“Ugh, wild mages. Bunch of weirdos.”
Then Maxine whipped out her short sword, slew the Bungmaster and Izzek in one fell swoop, punched Strowd’s entire face off, freed the people, was crowned Queen of Everything, and everyone lived happily ever after.