Kingmaker in Eberron

Book 3 Chapter 11 - The Carnival of Tears Part 1

Our heroes had gathered at the edge of the Narlmarches forest and heeded the warning given by Syntira, nymph queen of the local Thelanis fae court. Ten people could drink from the flowers given by the queen, granting protection from the Eye of Rapture wielded by the Cold Rider.

Time was of the essence and the group quickly divided themselves into two groups. The first would be heading back towards the Carnival to fight against the frozen fae and save the town. The second group would be heading towards Candlemere to investigate and resolve the demi-plane of shadow coming from there.
Group One: Mikmek, Korin, Valerie, Bastion, Sidney, Tarvis, and Cassie.
Group Two: Alanea, Dox, Boudreaux, Eleanor, Lucius, Aurum, Ogg, and the Old Beldame.
For now, we follow the group returning to the Carnival, unaware of the horrors that await them…

Each member of the group drank their flower of protection leaving three left within the group. It was time…they only prayed they would be able to make it back in time…
The moons of eberron were high in the sky as our heroes returned to the carnival; lights shimmering off the ice like pale ghosts dancing in the darkness. The lively music that wafted throughout the festivities changed after the sounding of a gong, signifying the lighting of the fireworks. Colorful rockets shot into the sky, and as wild eyed onlookers watched with glee, a rain of leeches fell from the ‘fireworks’ coating the area with sickly wet noises.
Citizens were still lining up at the Ticket Booth, which had undergone a horrifying transformation. Pinned on the rickety wooden booths hung the precisely removed facial skins of unfortunate fairgoers, all twisted and stretched into expressions of grotesque laughter. Frost-limed tiny fae clattered about the booth, attending the oblivious crowd, handing them grisly event tickets peeled from tongues and fingers. Korin could not contain his anger, rushing to the front of the line and angrily grabbing one of the fae – which Cassie quickly identified as a Brownie.

Korin demanded answers, but the brownie only chortled “You shouldn’t take everything so seriously! Here, have a lolli!” The brownie offered what appeared to be a human eye shoved on a wooden stick. And then the second brownie in the ticket booth attacked! The brownies proved to have little offensive strength against the dwarven barbarian, however their fingers were sharpened into frozen needle points that spread a burning cold throughout Korin’s forearm.

After the first brownie was shattered into snow and ice particles, the other teleported away. Valerie spoke to the rest of the people in line with her impressive diplomatic skills and barely managed to convince them to head back to town and that the carnival was over for the evening. Unfortunately, this was the last group of people that our heroes could successfully convince to leave. Despite their pleas, and their arguments the happy carnival attendees did not seem to understand what was going on.

Sidney was dead set on locating Lissa and his daughter…based on Lissa’s eating habits her most likely location would be at the eating contest…on the other side of the carnival. Between our heroes and their destination were multiple other attractions. The drinking tent where the ale was supplied by Korin, the Titan’s Wheel strength contest, and the burlesque show tent.

The ale tent was closest, and there was the possibility that Lissa was there so our heroes rushed to their first attraction. Outside the tent there were loud boisterous voices singing drunken chants accompanied by the clinking of glasses. Pulling open the flap to the tent our heroes saw a tavern full of drunken lumberjacks in various disturbing states of transformation. Over half of the lumberjacks enjoying their brews had been turned into humanoid shaped trees, with roots burrowing out from their shoes and into the ground. Most of the others were in some state in between, with some having leaves and branches burrowing out from their skin.

It was here that the group located Corax, mayor of Tatzlford and leader of the lumberjack groups for their kingdom. Laughing at some unheard joke Corax hefted his greataxe “That’s right! I’m the strongest guy at all the camps, those trees don’t stand a chance against steel this strong!” and to prove his point Corax smashed his weapon through a nearby tree-lumberjack, splitting him in two. Yeah it was time to put a stop to that…
Three tiny figures floated through the tavern carrying pitchers that were much bigger than them. They flew amongst the happy drinkers occasionally refilling their mugs. After spotting the interlopers the fae, which were identified as Pixies, conjured bows out of thin air and began raining tiny arrows at our heroes. Unfortunately for them, their targets happened to be Valerie, Bastion, and Korin – all of whom had skin too thick to be harmed by the tiny arrows. Spells, jumping attacks, and carefully planned reactions against invisibile opponents (Candlemere had taught them well) made quick work of two of the three Pixies. The third quickly turned invisible and fled.

Korin sundered Corax’s axe, and with the ale not flowing any more the remaining lumberjacks drunkenly wandered off into the night.
The Titan’s Wheel was the next location on their way to the eating contest, and it too had undergone a horrifying transformation. Stripped of its once-colorful decorations, the windmill jutted like a rotten claw from a quagmire of mud and blood. Fairgoers navigated toward it on rotten planks arranged as stepping stones to span the fetid morass. Ghoulish trophies dangled from the great metal wheel, bound by their own intestines to the rusting metal as they dragged the remains through the mud and up into the air as the wheel rotated. More frozen Brownies led two separate lines at the Titan’s Wheel. The first line continued with the game, slamming the hammer down to test their strength while the second line was leading people around to the back of the windmill…

As our heroes approached the brownies at the first line quickly ran off to the back, followed by Mikmek, Korin, and Tarvis. Valerie and Bastion first spoke to the people playing the actual game before eventually just taking the hammer away from the people. Mikmek and Tarvis let loose with a series of Burning Hands which proved fatal for most of the brownies. The two left alive climbed higher into the insides of the windmill and as Korin stepped inside their nefarious trap was revealed – a series of chains quickly animated and wrapped themselves around his arms and legs quickly dragging the dwarf into the cogs of the windmill! To Korin’s disgust he was clearly not the first person dragged through this machine either – the second line to the back of the windmill was going through these people in droves. However these chains were no match for strength of the kingdom’s accountant! With a flex of his muscles the chains snapped into pieces while the other two brownies were quickly dispatched.

Valerie and Bastion in the meantime, had been breaking down a secondary wall at the base of the windmill determined to cause the device to collapse on itself. It was at this point that our heroes heard a soft jingling of bells and assorted “ooh” and "aah"s from the front of the windmill caught Valerie and Bastion’s attention.

Dressed in a pattern of red and black was a jester standing a good six feet tall and performing card tricks and bits of legerdemain to a gathering crowd. A mask of solid white covered the face of the jester in the face of a Comedy mask. “Ah, I see you’re making a bit of a scene at our happy carnival! Interfering with our merry tricks! You may think you’re at an advantage but I always pride myself on having an ace up my sleeve!” As the jester revealed the card in his hand to in fact be the Ace of Spades a quick fwip had slit the throat of one of the enraptured watchers as the card was thrown at the windmill itself severing the cotter pins that held the wheel in place. With a lurch the blades began spinning off their hinges, and cascading toward the frozen river where the ice carving competition and ice skating areas are!

Out heroes continue their travels in the Carnival of Tears next time on Kingmaker!

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