53. A Reya hope

Tunwéya finished his studies into the tome he’d acquired and, with Hinnerk‘s business in the city completed, the Levellers assembled in the Manticore to make their final preparations for their journey to the tower of the wizard Traxigor, somewhere out to sea. After some discussion, the party agreed that rather than attempting to recover their impournded vessel from the docks, they’d simply use the larger form of their folding boat and hope for reasonable weather for the day-long journey to the point that had been indicated to them.

As Hinnerk bade farewell to Cynder (who didn’t appreciate Darry‘s commentary on their budding romance as she gave Hinnerk a lock of her hair), the Hellrider Reya returned. She’d decided to join the quest, fulfilling her oath of loyalty not to her former leige but to the city of Elturel itself, now somewhere deep in the hells.

The assembled group – Leofric, Darry, Hinnerk, Tunwéya, and now Reya – proceeded down to the riverside to launch their boat. Before reaching the waterfront, they stopped at a dockside tattoo parlour to get themselves all inked with the symbol of the Levellers, with the exception of Reya who opted-out at the last minute. As they walked along the dockside, a farmer flanked by two labourers talked to Leofric and asked about any “magic shield” he might be carrying. Strangely charmed by the friendly stranger, Leofric didn’t at first realise that he’d been put under a spell as he retrieved the possessed shield from the bag of holding and handed it over. Realising his predicament, his friends leaped into action: Darry slashed at the farmer and within seconds she’d revealed her true form: a large winged devil! The fiend took off, trying to escape with the shield while launching fireballs at the party, who returned fire with Tunwéya’s ice knives and Leofric using Misty Step to leap atop her and try to drag her down. Reya was pushed off the dockside below by one of the labourers and, clad in thick chainmail, struggled to keep her head above water until she could be rescued.

With a couple of excellent blows the devil was destroyed, becoming a pile of ash, and the shield recovered. Her accompanying bodyguards turned and fled: one got away into the docklands alleyways, but Hinnerk put a sword through the leg of one of them, pinning him for possible interrogation.

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