How’s it going Rey,
Well our plan certainly had some interesting results, but first and foremost, we’re all ok and safe in Smallwood. But I don’t want to jump too far ahead, you’re probably interested to know what happened in the bandit stronghold with Benna.
After my mistake at the common house, we decided we should head straight to the main building where Benna was sure to be held up. Looking around, there was the infirmary, and some pretty hurt folk inside. There was little Spoke and I could do for them while we were in a hurry to not get caught.
Another building caught our attention, this one was locked. Don’t tell mom and dad, but I picked up some talent with lockpicks and was able to find us a way in. This happened to be their storehouse for much of their valuable loot. There were boxes of coin, pictures and other fine art, jewels and jewelry. This was a small fortune, but a stolen one. We figured it was best left alone, but we all had fun entertaining an idea of a grand heist for a moment before moving on.
We went up the to the last building, no other place for Benna to be but there. Entering, we found ourselves in a feast hall, lots of food for the bandits to come eat. It looks like the guards must have been here for their turn because there were two left inside. Slow eaters it seems, plus two more posted by a door to the side. We figure Benna must be inside but wasn’t sure how to get past these guards.
Farah being the boldest of us just entered and sat down to start eating, making small talk with one of the guards. The rest of us slowly shuffled in and kind of waited for confirmation to possibly join. It seemed safe enough and the guards didn’t pay us much attention so we sat and started eating.
Farah told them we needed to speak to Benna, our captain had died and she is currently taking that responsibility and needs to report to her. The guards being inquisitive asked her who the old captain was. Not wanting to give us away, she was quick to say we weren’t really on a first name basis with the old captain, and he got his position because the previous one died as well. All of this because of the fires. Well the guards were a little suspicious, decided to take a note and give this to Benna herself.
With that plan failed, I had one other idea. Poking Farah, the two of us headed outside. I told her that along our travels, I picked up a new trick, invisibility. I would like to use this to follow the guard and get in the room with Benna and poison her drink with the sleeping herb we mixed earlier. Farah agreed and tried entering in a way to let me back in without causing suspicion while invisible. It wasn’t exactly as subtle as we had hoped, and the guards were again suspicious. Rakuno quickly picking up what had happened, called out the suspicion on possible ghosts haunting this old fortress. I then hid and waited for any opportunity to get to Benna’s possible quarters.
Time was ticking though, I was getting restless and moved to a more advantageous spot by the front table near the doorway. Luck would have it, both good and bad, Benna emerged into the feast hall and sat down, right where I was hiding. I had to move over quickly to not be discovered.
Safe for the moment, Benna began questioning her new guests at the tables. Farah giving a convincing tale of our banditry plight, the one guard with the note confirming to her what we told earlier. Again, the identity of this previous captain comes up, and we give them a possible name, something that felt common among humblefolk. Benna wanting to find out more sent one of the guards to go to the captain quarters and look this individual up.
In the meantime, I sprang into action. There was a nearby candelabra stand that I reached over and knocked prone. Again Rakuno questioning the validity of a possible ghost haunting, I pulled out the poisoned and spiked her drink. The planned worked as there was no one calling out my actions.
Spoke came over to help clean up the mess and I made my way back to the door and followed the guard heading out to get the captain’s information. After a few minutes I removed my spell and came back in. Benna taking the bait and drinking while reading over some documents. She was getting rather tired but was slowing down on finishing the last bit. So we decided we should find a way to get her to finish. This is where the light of Ardea faltered and our good luck ran completely out. Farah tried setting me up to give a toast to our fallen captain, asking what was bothering me. I played into it, acting sad at the loss. But when she asked why I was sad at his loss, I panicked and my beak slipped “Because we grew up together.” Everyone stared at me. This supposed guy that we didn’t really know the name of, I grew up with? What the heck was I thinking.
That awkwardness was broken with even further complications. The guard had returned and whispered something to Benna, causing our cover to be completely blown at this point. She got up, and asked who we are, and what we were doing here. We were at a loss, trying to say something. Rakuno seeing the writing on the wall got up, walked over and said we were sent here by her mom and initiated combat.
The fight was fierce, but quick. We had ganged up on Benna as soon as we could. After all, if you cut the head off a snake, the body dies with it. She could see the writing on the wall as well, we had them outnumbered and outmatched in this hall, so Benna reached up with an amulet on her arm. Sycamore and Farah could see there was some possible danger with this move, but I was able to get a bigger picture. The glyph on the amulet was the same as the glyphs on the roof. If activated or if she went down, the glyphs would collapse the roof, possibly killing us all. The fight halted.
Benna, close to collapsing asked if the council sent us. I admitted to this, but also stated we were here to talk, but circumstance changed the course of that plan. We had some back and forth and got some insight into her motives. The fire burned her village like so many others, and she tried to get help from Alderheart, but was shoved like so many into the roots. She was from a line of leaders in her village and that heritage lifted her and many humblefolk to try and cause a disruption and get some sort of fairness between birdfolk and humblefolk. From that fire, she lost her mother, her wife, her children, and was physically scarred. She was angry, and so too was Spoke, but for a very different reason.
Spoke chided her for the decisions she made. He too lost his family and friends, but scolded Benna. He did not take on banditry, he didn’t feel like lashing out at the city, he didn’t try and hurt others. The situation was getting out of hand. Benna doubling on her commitment to the folk, Spoke losing himself like the fires taking the forest. Spoke lashed out, attempting to silence Benna, deadman’s switch be damned. His attack almost taking her out, but I tried to keep a calmer head and put Spoke to sleep with my magic. I hope I didn’t ruin our friendship.
The situation was deescalated, we were able to discuss terms of surrender with Benna, and settled on a parlay with the council in which if she was to answer for the crimes of the bandits, she would turn herself in. This is why we are now in Smallwood, a neutral ground for negotiation.
Right now the others are confirming her story to ensure she’s being truthful while she is under our guard. Rakuno and Farah are bringing the council’s envoy to talk to Benna. We shall see how this will unfold soon. For now Reya, I want you to know I’m thinking of you, mom and dad. I hope this is over soon as there’s talks of possibly heading down south to the coast. I am a little anxious as I’d like to come see you all when we’re nearby.
Until then, I love you all