The session begins with Talman gravely wounded and the Skin Hags in the process of organizing an expedition to the cliffs outside Enoch. With the Black Garrote sure to reorganize and come after them eventually Avna is in a hurry to gather what's at hand and march back to the Black Skull tavern. There at least the Hags can rely on their allied gangs, the Flayers and the Cannibals, to help defend the quarter against incursions by the Garrote.
Ordering Talman tossed into a wagon for the trip Avna soon has us jogging to the west for a quick dash through the Bad Blood's territory in the northwest quarter. As the day progresses we find the Bad Blood gangs uninterested in a clash with the Skin Hags and we reach the tavern further south without incident. There we secure Talman a bed to rest in and go to find Avna reporting recent events to Magosh and his two men. Magosh is already eager to hike out to the magic fountain, especially after Avna has Willip brought forward to spill his tale of the gargantuan underground lake of fresh water that his device has generated.
Talman hasn't time to recover even one Wound point before Avna has us all reorganized again for a march out to the cliffs. He is again tossed into a wagon and the rest of us take position with some of the Skin Hag guards around the three Sethian men for the trip. While Avna and a handful of other high-level Skin Hags make use of chariots and carts, the rest of us are forced to travel on foot beside the wagon carrying Magosh, his men and Talman.
Avna marches straight for the west gate and out to the dry plain beyond. The Skin Hags take great delight in mocking the small pocket of city guards cowering at the gate as they pass, several taking the time to pelt the frightened men with rotten fruit as they march by. Come nightfall we've reached the cliffs and Willip is at the head of the column pointing out the path up to the cave where his device is hidden.
When we reach the mouth of the cave above Magosh and his two bodyguards rush forward to get a look at Willip's device, so we've an excuse to do likewise. Eisig's curiosity has already led him to abandon the rest of us and dash forward as soon as the cave has come into view. Inside we find Avna and her lieutenants staring at a wagon-sized contraption of thin tubes and panels overhanging a small pool. While the panels do indeed seem to be gathering condensation from the mild breeze blowing into the cave, the pool beneath holds no more than a few gallons of dirty water.
After a moment of stunned silence Avna turns in a fury to lay hold of Willip, smashing his face against the nearest panel and demanding to know where the promised "gargantuan lake of fresh water" is. From Willip's terrified gibbering we catch on that he's been exaggerating his claims since the Black Garrote first took him in order to preserve his own life. The device he's invented can't possibly provide fresh water for more than two or three people at a time.
With that Avna loses her temper and flies into an absolute rage. Beating the shackled Willip's head repeatedly against his water machine for the next few minutes she has even the Skin Hags taking a frightened step backward. Once she's satisfied and Willip lies in a bloody mess tossed into the dirty pool at her feet, she lunges at the three Sethian men, demanding her pay for leading them to Willip and the "magical fountain". Thoroughly intimidated, Magosh hastily and clumsily digs through his bag for the promised gold and offers it with a trembling hand to Avna.
Once she snatched it away, she stomps over to her lieutenants and barks an order over her shoulder that the three men be killed immediately. Though we try to object we're ignored and a mob of Skin Hags, eager to appease their enraged leader, lunges for the three men. Faced with taking on a small army of Hags to defend the Sethians, we opt to back off and appear as non-threatening as possible. When Talman attempts to hobble forward for a fight, we manage to restrain him and dissuade him from getting himself killed just yet.
Though the three men prove tougher than they may have looked up to this point, the overwhelming mob of Skin Hags has them cut down in short order. Avna looks on with a smirk before mockingly laying claim to the "magical fountain" in the name of the Skin Hags. Still smirking she informs the four of us that we've been granted the privilege of guarding the device. With that she and her gang move to depart the cave, leaving us where we stand. From the jeering and laughter of the Hags as they pass by it's clear we're being abandoned.
Once the last of the Hags has had their pleasure mocking us and have departed we heave a sigh of relief that it hadn't occurred to any of them to kill us as well. With Talman near dead we aren't quite ready to hike back to Enoch either, especially considering all the enemies we've made there. We opt to make camp in the cave and allow Talman to heal before we decide where to go.
It's only a few moments before we realize Hak, one of Magosh's bodyguards, is still clinging to life and trying desperately to get our attention. From him we learn that Magosh's family in the city of Jared in quite wealthy and he wishes to make us an offer before his life slips away. It would seem that many of the descendants of Seth have adopted an odd practice during their many wars with the descendants of Cain over the years. When a brother falls in battle in these "cursed lands" occupied by the sons of Cain it falls to his comrades to retrieve his heart and carry it home to be buried, at least in those cases where the whole body can't easily be transported. Hak assures us that if we would be willing to do this for Magosh (and of course, he and Malivosh while we're at it) we can expect to be richly rewarded by Magosh's family. When he sees that we're considering his offer he hastily informs us that the ritual cloths can be found in Malivosh's baggage before his last breath slips away and he dies.
Digging through Malivosh's bags (having already decided to loot the three corpses anyway) we do indeed find three crimson pieces of cloth embroidered with various mystical symbols. When we begin to discuss taking on this task (now that Enoch is an even less friendly place for us than before) only Beckah makes her Knowledge check on the matter. She informs the rest of us that she's heard of this practice and that it is believed that taking on such a duty can be dangerous and complicated. Specifically, the hearts must be covered by these blessed cloths at all times, can never be uncovered and neither the heart nor the cloth ever touch the ground until they're properly buried. Furthermore whomever is charged with a heart must carry it in the left hand for the entire trip and can never put it down or let go of it. It's taken as an established fact that to violate any of these rules bring an unimaginably horrible curse from God down on the person responsible.
Of course, this dissuades us immediately from attempting such a thing at first but after considering our options we find me may not have a better one. From what Hak had said earlier, the reward from Magosh's family should be respectable. At least enough to finance a move to another city where we haven't quite as many people eager to kill us. The complex task of carrying the hearts, into the lands of Seth at that, is quite daunting though. In the end we decide to give it a shot. The Seth town of Shoham is just a day's march up the dried riverbed and Jared only two days beyond that.
As the professional torturer among us and most experienced at cutting people we give the task to Beckah and though she grumbles a good bit about it, she soon has the hearts extracted from the three dead men and properly wrapped. The rest of us dig around through the men's belongings for various items we hope will identify these hearts as theirs should that be required. In the end there only remains the decision of which of us will have their hands free for the trip. We finally decide it should be Talman as he's better qualified to defend the rest of us, though that requires us to remain in the cave for the week necessary for him to heal up properly.
At the end of the week we're thankful no one has come around looking to rob or kill us and we can only speculate that word has gotten around that the "magical fountain" was a hoax. Our food supplies have held up well enough though we've been reduced to cracking open Willip's machine to siphon out the vinegar to drink. Beckah also makes good use of Coppertail during the week, sending him out to dig for edible roots which we then add to our rations. Our canteens are likewise filled with a mix of vinegar and dirty water when we decide Talman is fully healed and we leave the cave, smelly hearts in hand, to hike west to Shoham.
[Beckah also makes her weekly check against her respiratory illness and succeeds again, delaying any progression of the disease.]
On the hike up the riverbed toward Shoham Beckah spots a pair of tigers loping up the riverbed behind us and we quickly scale up the sides to hide. Once they've passed by and gone on ahead (after making us all pretty nervous) we slide back down and continue on. Over the next several hours we're forced to exit the riverbed twice more for a pair of wild dogs (who bark up at as for a bit before giving up and moving on) and a pair of elephants (the bull of which trumpets up at us likewise as a warning).
Taking the hint we abandon the riverbed and hike along the rim for the rest of the journey. By the time Shoham comes in sight we've overtaken a pair of crocodiles down below us, leaving them behind, a small group of five cows and two bulls and seen several different species of bird flying overhead in groups of seven, all following the riverbed west.
Reaching Shoham we gather our resolve and plunge ahead, moving up the street to find an inn where we can spend the night. Though the Sethians appear identical to us we know our strange accent will mark us as descendants of Cain the moment we speak. We can only hope the hearts we carry in our hands are revered enough to keep anyone from mistreating us. We do notice that a couple of dozen of the town's folk have pulled up chairs and logs just outside of town to sit comfortably and watch the occasional groups of animals that wander by down in the riverbed. We can only assume this has been going on for some time.
Unfortunately, we've completely forgotten Talman's Mark of Cain, clearly evident across his face, which causes a bit of an stir the moment we walk into town. With small groups of people murmuring to one another and pointing at us we're forced to walk quickly forward towards the inn we spy up ahead, hoping to avoid any trouble. Of course we're confronted with a group of men who block our way before we get there, demanding we depart immediately. Jobina takes the lead, explaining our purpose for being there and our destination (Jared), pointing out the cloth-covered hearts we carry. When asked she explains who the men were and how they came to die, painting a somewhat less than accurate picture that removes us nicely from any culpability in the matter.
This shocks the men a bit but after a little grumbling and muttering they finally agree to allow us to stay in the town for the night, insisting we move on first thing in the morning. We move with all haste to the inn where Jobina then goes through the whole song and dance a second time to convince the innkeeper to rent us a room for the night. He eventually agrees but still gouges us pretty badly on the price.
By evening we've stayed in the single room we've rented (not wanting to get separated) to avoid any trouble. Eventually a knock on the door forces us to interact with the locals anyway. Opening the door we find the innkeeper and two stern looking me who invite us downstairs to speak with the town elders. We dither a bit but the disapproving faces of the men convince us to be as agreeable as possible if we hope to get out of this town in one piece. Downstairs (still carrying the now badly decomposing human hearts in our hands) we find three elderly men, each probably well over two hundred years old, awaiting us in the middle of the common room. All around the scores of locals who've come to drink and discuss the Nod-dwellers upstairs all stand quietly, showing extreme deference to the three men. We are rudely gestured forward and the elders take a moment to inspect the hearts we carry, being careful not to actually touch them or risk our dropping them, before announcing with all gravity that they're genuine.
They also clue us in to a common practice in tying the cloth in such a way as to secure both it and the heart to our hands and prevent dropping them accidentally. Once they've elected one of the men in the crowd to demonstrate with a cloth the innkeeper provides we follow suit and are pleased to find the cloth-covered hearts now firmly secured in our palms (though they're still no less smelly and squishy). With that the old men toss up their noses and snub us sharply, heading for the front door.
Once the elders have left the room it's clear from the reaction of the crowd that the town's folk are now quite impressed with us and all manner of camaraderie and enthusiast greetings soon erupt. In moments we are treated to free drinks and calls for us to recount our tale to the crowd. Though we're relieved at the seeming change of heart we nevertheless edge down the bar as close to the stairway as we can before we accept drinks and beginning telling tales. We leave it Jobina to make all the speeches, trusting her social skills to keep us out of trouble.
During the course of Jobina spinning her tale (putting us all in the best light possible) several of the younger towns folk call on Beckah to have Coppertail do some tricks for them. Eventually they offer copper coins for the show and Beckah takes them on, spending a Plot Point token to control Coppertail and having him do all manner of truly impressive stunts (including a humorous impression of Hamish which the locals greatly enjoy).
Once Jobina completes her story and receives the applause of the crowd we're all feeling a bit better about the company we're keeping. The Sethians may be haughty and look down their noses at the descendants of Cain but them seem so far to throw a good party. While Beckah continues raking in handfuls of copper coins for Coppertail's show, Jobina quickly finds herself the center of attention from several very handsome (and seemingly wealthy) older men. Flirting outrageously and already picking out one or two to rob later her plans are cut short when Talman steps up to glare them all off.
This naturally leads to a bit of a disagreement between the two of them which threatens to escalate into a full-blown shouting match until Talman finds himself distracted by challengers nearby. Close at hand a table has been set aside for arm wrestling matches, a common pastime in these parts it would seem. Talman instantly loses interest in arguing with Jobina when one of the men claps him on the back and challenges him to a match. Once he's wandered away from Jobina she's off to catch up with the most handsome (and wealthiest) former suitor that Talman previously frightened away.
Eisig meanwhile decides he's not going to be left out of all the fun and ends up juggling clay mugs from the bar one-handed, eliciting cheers from several patrons. This leads to a juggling match (which Eisig actually loses) with one of the patrons. A polite conversation between the two of them and Eisig discovers that Shoham hosts a local fair four months a year and that the man makes a living entertaining the crowds there. This in turn leads to discussion of the real, live dragon that the Shoham fair boasts having in captivity, the last known remaining dragon in all the lands (all the rest having been hunted to extinction). When he offers, Eisig decides he absolutely has to see a real, live dragon before he dies and agrees to pay the man ten gold coins to get him in to see it. They head toward the back door to sneak down to the dragon pen.
Once Coppertail has done all the tricks he can muster and the young patrons begin running out of spare coppers Beckah and Coppertail bow out. Beckah returns to her drink in order to finish it and retire for the evening. To her surprise she's accosted by one of the locals, a shop owner named Chasin. He spends several moments praising her for the remarkable monkey she's trained (monkey's apparently being rare in these parts, much less as trained pets). Accepting the praise politely she's surprised again when he offers a small fortune for Coppertail. She declines at first but the 300 in gold he's offering is sorely tempting. It soon occurs to her that she might be able to make a profit here. After discussing the matter for a bit she agrees and keeps Coppertail entertained while the man runs off to fetch a suitable cage.
When he returns she turns over Coppertail and receives her payment, taking a moment to count it out and test the gold quality with a good bite. Giving her nod the two shake hands and Chasin departs with his new pet monkey. Beckah heads upstairs to cache her gold, intending to spend a Plot Point tomorrow morning and have Coppertail escape and return to her then.
On the way upstairs she spots a women in the crowd wearing a hooded cloak, dressed in fine wool, who strikes her as familiar, though she doesn't immediately recognize her. Once she reaches the room and is busy stashing the bag of gold underneath the dresser there she finally realizes the woman she glimpsed downstairs was the Black Widow enforcer from Enoch, the gold-hairpin woman!
Talman meanwhile is a bit disgusted to lose both his first and second match against the local farmers. He's forced to grab Eisig before he heads out the back door with the local juggler to beg a few coppers to cover his bets. He's only just realized his coin pouch is mysteriously empty (Jobina having robbed him back in Enoch). Returning to the table and ready to try again Talman is convinced he can do better and win some coin. Almost immediately he finds he has a heckler in the crowd, a drunk farmer who lays it on rather thick with the insults despite his fellow town's folk all around frowning and shushing him.
When Talman pays his bets and puts down the last of his borrowed copper for a final bout he loses that match as well and is properly irritated now. Granted the local farmers are in good shape from working the fields every day but he honestly expected to win at least one match. The heckler meanwhile has grown all the more belligerent and now openly challenges Talman to wrestle him. At first the locals yell for the man to hush up and go home to sleep it off but soon they're encouraging Talman to go ahead and arm wrestle the man, claiming he's so drunk that Talman should be able to beat him easily. Maybe then he'll be shamed enough to shut up and go home. Talman accepts the challenge, though he dubious at his chances after losing three matches already to the local farmers.
Jobina meanwhile manages to catch up with her mark off in the corner where Talman can't see and come to interfere. After a bit of teasing and flirting she has him hooked easily and she heads off upstairs with him to his room. She runs into Beckah at the top of the stairs, who's on her way back down to the common. Beckah immediately stops her and pulls her aside to whisper that she's seen the gold-hairpin woman in the crowd. They quickly take to the balcony (Jobina's prospective client looking on impatiently) to spy out the crowd below. They spot the Black Widow enforcer easily enough...and find they've been spotted in return! As soon as she makes eye contact the woman spins around and heads out the front door of the inn.
Over at the arm-wrestling table Talman takes on the very drunk and belligerent farmer for a match and slams his arm to the table almost instantly. As the crowd cheers his victory the drunk accuses him of cheating, beginning the match before he was prepared. When Talman offers to go again free of charge, the drunk surprises him by throwing a left hook and landing a glancing blow to the face.
Talman naturally leaps across the table to get a handful of the guy, easily landing a solid grapple on him.
The drunk farmer tries to break lose but is far too drunk to coordinate himself properly. He fails badly.
With the rowdiness of the crowd, the frustration of losing three matches in a row, the drunk's earlier insults and the sucker punch he just threw the GM forces a Willpower check against Talman's Vengeful complication. Talman barely manages to refrain from choking the farmer to death, even after a reroll from his Out of Luck complication.
He instead threatens to beat the man unconscious if he doesn't calm down and is relieved when several men of the crowd step forward to take the man in hand. Letting go of the drunk Talman gives him over to the men who then manage to drag him kicking and cursing out the front door, presumably to send him off toward his home.
Beckah and Jobina then come flying down the stairs to grab hold of Talman and whisper in his ear what they've just witnessed. They confer quickly and decide to risk the drunk outside by going out after the Black Widow enforcer. On the way Talman answers their queries as to Eisig's whereabouts, stating he saw him head out the back door with one of the locals.
Outside on the front steps of the inn they can see the drunk being escorted off a ways down the street, still cursing and railing against the "son of Cain" back at the inn but otherwise oblivious to Talman's presence. They don't see any sign of the gold-hairpin woman, though.
Eisig meanwhile sneaks along down the back alley with Asher, the local juggler, to the dragon pen at the edge of town. There he finds Asher isn't willing to go any further for fear of being caught. He advises Eisig likewise to be exceptionally stealthy and points out several broken ties along the edge of the tent that will allow him to pass underneath. He also warns Eisig not to startle or taunt the dragon as this is a very serious offence. Teasing the dragon has led to it attacking and eating people in the past and the locals simply don't put up with that.
Though Eisig is suddenly concerned that this Asher fellow might be setting him up for some trouble, his Curious complication won't let him walk away from the opportunity to see a real, live dragon in person. He sneaks forward, keeping to the shadows until he can approach the edge of the huge tent where the ties are broken. A quick look back shows Asher still at hand urging him on so Eisig slips under and inside.
Once inside it takes a moment for his eyes to adjust but Eisig has no trouble spotting the humongous, snake-like lizard curled up and chained to a nearby pole. Fortunately there's no danger of startling the creature as it seems to have noticed him already as he came in. Eisig spends a moment (warily) soaking in the impressive sight, being careful not to do anything that might be construed as taunting. Nevertheless he grows concerned when the beast begins grunting and becoming anxious, sniffing at him furiously. In short order the dragon is bleating and bugling loudly, enough so that Eisig is sure everyone in town can hear.
Before he can turn and dive under the tent again to avoid being caught Asher has already appeared beside him, clearly anxious himself and demanding to know what Eisig has done to upset the dragon. Eisig naturally feigns innocence, assuring Asher he hasn't done anything at all but Asher simply grabs him and ducks back under the tent again. Outside the two dash back for town hoping no one will spot them. As luck would have it the front doors of several of the homes nearby are already springing open and men step out to see what in the world is going on. They spot the two right away. Once it's clear that we're caught Asher immediately jumps away from Eisig, pointing and proclaiming that he caught "the foreigner" teasing the dragon.
With Talman, Jobina and Beckah all on the front step of the inn looking for some sign of the gold-hairpin woman, they don't fail to notice the unnaturally loud noises blaring from the north side of town. Looking off in that direction they soon spot Eisig and one of the locals sprinting in their direction as well as witnessing the other man suddenly turn and accuse Eisig of "teasing the dragon".
By the time they reach Eisig there are already several town's folk gathered around yelling and accusing him of some crime or other and seem close to taking him in hand. Eisig assures the others he hasn't done anything wrong, he merely stood there looking at the dragon and it suddenly starting freaking out for no reason. By the time the others get around to asking, "What dragon?" we can hear a great shattering and rending noise from the north. Turning to see just what else in the world has happened we spy the dragon in question ripping through the side of the huge tent two blocks away. In a heartbeat it's already beginning to lope down the street in our direction, bellowing and dragging a broken length of thick iron chain from it's neck.
For a moment everyone is startled, then the locals all start yelling and running off in every direction. Two of the nearest folks yell at us to get inside where it's safe and we turn on our heels to dart back inside the inn. Before we can do that though we're confronted with another man at the door of the inn who looks utterly horrified, pointing one accusing finger at us and another at the dragon down the street. Over the confused shouting of the locals flying all around we hear him yell to us, "It's the hearts! He's a carrion eater! Run!" Before we can process what that means nearly all the locals seem to catch on before we do and begin screaming in terror at us, now seemingly fleeing more from us than the dragon.
By the time we catch on that the dragon is after the hearts we carry practically everyone in town is buttoning down somewhere well away from us and the dragon itself is only a block away. Concocting a quick (and slightly crazy) plan we send Eisig running off toward the dragon to lead it around the block and back to the main street again. Talman, Beckah and Jobina then rush to take up positions in the narrow alley on the edge of town, near the three large tents erected by the dried out riverbed.
Eisig is almost forced to drop some Plot Points on his Endurance checks but barely manages to avoid the dragon eating him while remaining close enough to keep it chasing him all the way around the block. Once he comes back around where he started he sprints south to the edge of town to wait for the dragon near the tents. When it begins to catch up with him he dashes off again, staying close enough to keep it's undivided attention while leading it to drag the huge iron chain trailing from it's neck around the line of tent pegs. Once it's safely past the alleyway the rest of the team dashes out to toss the chain onto the tent pegs and secure as many of the links as they can before the dragon takes up the slack. With only a second to spare Talman drives his broadsword through the foremost link in the series at an angle and leans on it, hoping that will stop the dragon in it's tracks.
Eisig isn't taking any chances and is already spending the last of his strength on a mad dash back up the street in case the trap doesn't hold. Fortunately the dragon comes up short when slack runs out of it's chain, even though a couple of the tent pegs pop and fly into the air. When the dragon begins to lose sight of Eisig and he's too far away to run back and get it's attention again, the girls are brave enough to run around and jump up and down in front of it. While it paws the ground in vain to get at them, Talman expends all his strength leaning on his sword to keep it's chain on the ground and prevent it sliding off the pegs.
Eisig immediately starts yelling for men with rope and is happy to find several were already fetching some. While the rest of the team wrestles with the dragon at the edge of town the locals soon have a small mob of men with lassos running up to rope the dragon and drag it back to the pen.
Once it's all shaken out we're forced to explain ourselves (well, mostly Eisig is forced to explain himself) and the older locals end up boxing Asher around the ears for being stupid. Thankfully with dragon currently being fed and fastened back to the pole in the dragon pen and no one hurt, the locals are willing to let the whole matter slide. Eisig is forced to endure a few jokes however and several men asking if he got "a close enough look at the dragon".
After spending the night resting comfortably in the inn we wake the next morning to find a delegation of townsmen waiting to greet us and invite us to an early feast in our honor. They assure us they'll keep the matter short, well aware that delivering the hearts of Magosh, Hak and Malivosh takes precedence and they've no intention of delaying our departure. We agree and follow the men to the west side of town where a long table has already been set up and food laid out. Though we expected most of the town to attend we find the majority of them standing around just watching, many of them looking uncomfortable.
Once we're seated at the large table with the three town elders and a fourth man even older than the lot of them, the men who escorted us and several other distinguished folk take their seats around us. When the food is doled out we find everyone else waiting on the elders before they begin eating so we do likewise. Once the elders begin eating we're a bit wary when the eldest begins asking questions of us over the meal about the gods the descendants of Cain worship.
Taken aback a bit we answer as best we can saying that most folk in Nod and the surrounding nations don't worship any particular god at all. We mostly pray to our ancestors and make sacrifices to the various totem animals in exchange for favors. Still, none of us four practice religion much and we inform him of that as well. The eldest then explains that the people in the surrounding lands worship many gods, as do the inhabitants of Shoham. Shoham however is dedicated primarily to Molesh, who increases the bounty of their fields and blesses the people with fertility. The eldest then launches into an obviously well prepared speech about Molesh and how the people are required to make sacrifice to appease him before he suddenly and startlingly begins leveling accusations at us.
In the middle of the meal we find ourselves being accused of releasing the dragon last night on purpose, then using magic to bind it again and appear as heroes to the locals. Likewise the hearts we bear are dismissed as false, designed only to ingratiate ourselves to the people of Shoham. We're flat out accused of being spies for Hamish and when we deny that the eldest claims Molesh spoke to him last night and told him our plans. He also commanded that the people of Shoham kill us and offer us up as sacrifices this very morning.
We don't require any further encouragement to take to our feet and prepare to defend ourselves but we already find ourselves feeling dizzy and lethargic. When the men around us lunge for us to take us in hand we're barely able to put up a fight as the poison in the food we've been served begins to kick in. We all fail our Resistance checks and fall unconscious except for Beckah, who manages to bruise a couple of people before she goes down for the count.
When we wake, still feeling weak and disoriented, our ears ringing, we find we've been bound to poles and staked atop piles of wood outside of town near where we fell unconscious. Around us most of the town is gathered and it's a bit disturbing to note that most of them carry lit torches. We also notice the hearts we've carried all this time have been taken from us.
Near at hand two of the elders lead the townsfolk in some bizarre chant designed to lead up to our being burned alive while the eldest stands before of us with his arms folded, glaring hatefully. Standing next to him is none other than the gold-hairpin woman, who smirks and wraps one arm around the old geezer to make it clear where he got the idea to sacrifice us all.
Since no one has started lighting us on fire yet Talman and Beckah do their best to break free of their bonds without any luck. Eisig tries to drop a few Plot Points to buy a nice sharp blade hidden in his belt (but the GM denies it). Jobina does her best to reason with the crowd and rolls pretty high on her Persuasion check. She manages to make a few folks shift uncomfortably but that's about it. She spends a Plot Point to take control of Coppertail as well, hoping he can get free and across town in time to be useful. Luckily he's currently being fed and [at Melissa's direction] decides that's the moment to make a run for it. There isn't much chance he'll figure out where we are and get to us in time though, nor that he can do much of anything if the does.
Before the crowd can move forward and start lighting the bonfires we hear a low bleat of a horn blowing off to the west. Craning our necks around we can spy a small band of chariots approaching from that direction, kicking up dust as they come. In moments several men have ridden up, with three of them standing very tall and bearing iron armor and spears. When they arrive and wheel in around us, they quickly leap off their chariots and begin demanding explanations from the elders nearby. We notice the gold-hairpin woman has suddenly disappeared again.
When the elders begin to explain that Molesh has commanded our sacrifice the three men immediately scoff and wave the old men away from them. They then turn to us with the clear intension of releasing us. When some of the men begin to object the nearby mercenaries turn a hard eye to them and everyone clamps their mouths shut. Whoever these men are they clearly command some measure of respect or at least some fear.
Once they've had their men cut us free they immediately notice our empty hands and begin yelling at the elders nearby again, who in turn soon have men from the crowd rushing off to fetch the hearts that were taken from us. When they're finally delivered and the hearts are all in the possession of one of the armored men, we're invited to join them and return with them to their father's home outside Jared. Introducing themselves as Ham, Shem and Japheth they inform us that they're close relatives of Magosh and good friends to Hak and Malivosh. One of their kinsmen here in Shoham informed them just last night that we were here in Shoham bearing their hearts and so they came to greet us.
More than eager to get away from the whole town that just tried to sacrifice us to some god we never even heard of, we're quick to hop on board the nearest chariot and ride out with the men. Coppertail naturally shows up too late to do any good but just in time to catch a free ride.
When we ask about the hearts and express concerns that we may be cursed for losing them the men all laugh and assure us that's just some silly old wives' tale.
[Beckah purchases 2 Skill Points and increases her Perception general skill to d4]
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