The Heroes of Burran woke to the smell of bacon. Maggie leapt out of bed haphazardly dressed, ran down the hall and passing by Nolofinwe’s door, pounding on it, shouting “Bacon, bacon!” Downstairs, Arien, Roman, and the mayor awoke to Morgath’s voice as he opened the door.
“Breakfast is ready.”, he said cordially. Arien would have liked to have stayed in bed because she had not slept well the night before. However, soon she and Roman made their way down the hall towards the kitchen, mayor in tow.
When they arrived, they found Maggie and Nolo at the table, gorging themselves on heaps of bacon.
“I trust you slept well?” Morgath inquired.
Not wanting to be rude, Arien replied, “Yes, of course. Thank you very much.” Roman grunted. Maggie looked up from her plate briefly and nodded her head. Nolo didn’t hear the question over sound of Maggie’s crunching and the mayor’s protests.
Once everyone had eaten and completed their polite small talk, Morgath walked over to Mayor Stonefellow and spoke some words of a language none of them recognized. When he finished, the mayor looked as a though a shade had fallen from his eyes. “What is going on here?” he said. Whatever enchantment had held his mind captive before, had now been broken.
The adventurers now had to decide what to do next. They explained their story to Gargen and all that had happened. Upon hearing the account, the mayor offered them safe passage through the city, once he had returned home and ordered his guards to protect the group. During the conversation, the mayor told a story about a light-skinned, dark-haired woman who came to visit him in the middle of each night while he was in bed:
“I had terrifying dreams. I shudder just to remember them now. They were more nightmares than dreams. I dreamed of demons crawling out of the dark and forgotten depths of Xymor to torture and kill me and all the people of Burran. These demons would then rise-up all the dead only to be tortured again. The dream was so vivid and real, I could almost smell the decay of death that was all around me.
“I couldn’t take it anymore. I was afraid to go to bed. I refused to sleep. I thought I was going insane. I started to get sick and weakened. But one night, when I contemplated ending it all, she came to me. She was a vision out of the heavens. Beautiful is a word that would not do her justice. She was a goddess and she told me her name was Allatha. At first, I thought I was dreaming again, but she caressed my face and told me it was all real and that she came to save me. She was real. She laid her hands on my brow and all the fear and pain I had felt in those weeks washed away. Her touch had healed me.
“She then told me that my dreams were in fact visions of the future. The demons were real and coming to Burran. But she said she could hold the demons at bay, preventing them from killing me and destroying Burran, if I made offerings to the dark lords. If I gave valuable riches, particularly gems and jewels, it would appease the dark lords and hold the demons back. My children, or, whom I was forced to believe were my children at the time, readily agreed to help with the offer. They set up the whole operation – they organized the shipments to the manor, appraised and categorized all the valuables, and then scheduled out shipments to a place in the Dark Corner to be offered.
“Allatha also told me that I should grow a mushroom garden from spores she gave me. She said that the mushrooms would provide added protection against the dreams. When I did everything she asked, the dreams stopped. Allatha appearance were less frequent as well, occasionally, she would still come to me and talk. She always came when I started to worry about the dreams returning.
“It all made sense to me then, and now in a strange way, it makes more sense. With what you’ve told me, it was all a con job, wasn’t it?”
Roman gruffed . “It looks to be that way.”
This new information concerned Roman. He realized that they had not completely saved the mayor from danger, but only eliminated one piece of the puzzle, that being the Halflings. The mayor’s true threat was Allatha and she was still out there. Arien suggested that this woman may be the same woman as the dark elf she encountered back at the manor.
“It could be,” Roman said. “From what Gargen said, this Allatha seems to possess magical abilities.”
“Enough to use illusion and enchantment, I say,” Arien added.
“We cannot return you home, the way I had hoped,” Roman said to Gargen.
“What?” the dwarf was surprised. Actually, everyone in the room was surprised.
“The threat is still out there,” Roman said. “To return you now, would simply allow these con-men to either reclaim control over you or they run away and hide in the dark corners of Burren, waiting for a new opportunity to strike. All that we have done here will be for naught.”
“What do you have in mind?” Nolo asked.
“I have a plan to capture this Allatha and learn more about who threatens Burran and her allies. First, Morgath will return Mayor Gargen to his home. Morgath will say that he had found the Mayor in a ditch or something and helped him. Gargen will act as he had before the enchantment was removed. He will grieve for the loss of his children and worry about his dreams returning. He will worry about the demons coming. Can you do that, Gargen?”
“Yes, but I don’t…”
“Us four,” Roman interpreted, gesturing to his friends, “will stay at a safe house. Some place not too far from the manor, but secluded enough from suspicious eyes. While we are there, Gargen, you will talk to your most trusted guards and tell them the truth of the situation, perhaps Shora or Hartik. You will tell them all that has transpired and what we are planning to do.”
“Yes, Hartik,” Gargen added, nodding his head, as if he knew what Roman was planning.
“Then before nightfall, Gargen, you will send one of the people you trust to come get us. We will sneak into the manor, hide somewhere in your bedroom or close to it, and wait for Allatha to come to you. Then we will come out and capture her.”
Gargen continued to nod in approval.
“How do you know this Allatha lady will come out?” Maggie asked.
“She will,” Roman said. “Her agents are dead or gone. The mayor is distraught with grief and fear. Her control over him will appear to have waned. She will come in order to reestablish that control. She has obviously spent a lot of time and resources to create such an elaborate con, I don’t think she would be willing to give up on it that easily.”
“Well, now this all sounds fine and dandy,” Morgath interrupted, “but you’re ignoring one important part of this plan.”
“Which is?” Roman asked, though he knew the answer.
“What do I get out of all this?”
“What do you want?” Arien asked.
“You would certainly will be well rewarded, Morgath,” Gargen added.
“I have no need for money,” Morgath said. “But perhaps there is one thing. Roman, I wish to speak to you in my private office.”
“Now wait on second…” Arien stood up.
“It’s okay,” Roman said. “I’ll talk to him.”
While in the office, Morgath and Roman made a deal.
“During your account to Gargen, you mentioned a satyr named, Cyro.”
“Yes,” Roman answered.
“Now I am more than aware that the pervious deal I offered you was less than appealing, am I correct,” Morgath smirked.
“I understand men like you have a difficult time betraying those who have helped you in the past. Allow me to amend that deal then. Instead of the troll, I want the satyr.”
Roman had to force back a chuckle. “You want the satyr? Dead or alive?”
“Oh alive. Quite alive, please.”
“Is that it?”
“If you agree to capture the satyr and bring him here, then I will gladly go along with your plan and I’ll even give you the information about that blonde warrior you may be interested in.”
“Sounds reasonable enough,” Roman agreed.
The deal was set with a shake of a hand. Roman knew this man was very dangerous.
The plan was set into motion. Morgath took Mayor Gargen home while Skye led the heroes to an abandoned home close to the manor. By dusk, a guard arrived and told the heroes to follow him.
During their walk to the manor, they came upon a courtyard that had a large fountain of a beautiful woman. Surrounding the statue were gnolls, throwing mud and waste at it. For the heroes, what the gnolls were doing was an act of evil and something had to be done to stop them. Even though the heroes didn’t recognize the statue or knew of its meaning, it needed to be protected.
The heroes jumped into battle.