In the name of Science!
“We should close the portal”, Katrille spoke after the dust from their last fight calmed down.
“Any ideas on how are we going to do that?”, Wataru looked at his own blood on his palms. “Maybe we can leave this to the local goblins?”
“I suggest we throw bricks into it until it is full!”, Shinigami proclaimed, her suggestion bouncing off two stone-like faces.
“Look, I appreciate that you tried, but frankly I doubt it will work. Given it is leading to another plane and all that. Not that your tiny Rakdos educated brain would grasp it.”, Wataru was keen on pressing the insult.
“HEY! I know planes! Rakdos has a plane of his own! I learned about them from a bloodwitch!”, Shinigami stood her ground, though shakily at best.
“Riiight, and that makes you the sole expert on cross plane travel?”, Wataru raised his trunk in agitation.
“Guys, guys. Stop. I understand that there were some, arguable decisions,”, Katrille gazed at Shinigami, “but we have a situation on our hands now. And if anyone has more feasible ideas, I would like to hear them.”
“If you think my idea is worthless, let’s ask the goblins for help.”, Shinigami said sarcasticaly.
Wataru scratched his trunk and noded. He turned and walked down the stairs, with two girls following after a brief pause.
“Hey, you, what is your name?”, Wataru shouted to the closest goblin.
“Cirx, let’s talk business. You owe us something for the trouble.”
Goblin stopped reassembling a device that was damaged during the chaos and turned to the group.
“Yes, sure. As agreed 10 zibs per elemental, given you did not destroy anything upstairs.”
“No no no, green meat ears, 10 zinos per elemental.”, Shinigami pulled her scythe out of the void and pointed it toward the goblin.
“We can’t just give you platinum mints! We shouldn’t throw away funds like that to…”, another goblin stepped in to the discussion.and overlooked the party with his two black beady eyes, “I don’t even know how to call you.”
“It matters little how you call us. We had an agreement of sorts, but if you had not noticed, pretty nasty things came out from the portal.”, Wataru took a contraption from the work table and thumbled it between his fingers. “I wonder what would Sullemand say about your recent performance. I presume you have full notes about what transpired here?”
“Well, I,… we had to recover after the blast…”, Cirx mumbled shamefully.
“Pay up, or I will make a mess out of you.”, Shinigami lifted goblin’s chin with the tip of her weapon.
“Please do not resort to violence. My name in Brix and I am in charge of the lab while Sullemand is not available.”, third goblin spoke up after he finished tuning a transfuse device in the corner of the room. “I appreciate your efforts in quenching the immediate danger, for this I can issue a decent reward, if you mind lowering your weapons?”
Wataru gestured to Shinigami to step back from the goblin.
“Fiiine”, Rakdos reluctantly lovered her scythe and madde it vanish in a burst of hellish flame.
“I hope we can come to understanding that we may not overpay for your efforts, as the funds are not ours to dispose.”, Brix walked to a cabinet and reached inside. Few moments later he produced a pouch of coin and tossed it to Wataru. “Hope this will cover your injuries, now about those notes, could you describe in detail what happened upstairs?”
“We fought a big smoke with lightning edges, then another one and a large one.”, Shinigami explained. Meanwhile Wataru counted the coins.
“Excuse my compatriot here, she, obviously, is not versed in inteligence”, Loxodon smirked, “We found a portal to what I presume is elemental plane.”
Wataru paused and handed over some coins to Shinigami and Katrille.
“We observed a smoke and lightning elemental manifesting through the portal. We discovered that those creatures are charged and emit bolts of electricity if touched. We also discovered that they can be hurt by magic.”
“Then by unfortunate turn of events, a scythe grounded the portal into the wall and formed a breach.”, Katrille continued to describe the situation as delicately as possible.
“What do you mean grounded?”, Brix’es eyebrow shot up in question.
“It worked as a siphon for transdimensional energies to physicaly afix the portal to the wall of your laboratory. This my best guess on what had happened.”, Katrille explained.
“Oh dear, so the portal is still open?”, Crix stopped ordering vials on the shelf and turned around to face the party.
“I am afraid so.”, Wataru said.
“I have an idea!”, Shinigami nearly jumped from excitement, “Why don’t we throw something into the portal?”
She touched the shoulder of the third goblin who was writing down this conversation.
“Do you want 10 zibs?”
“M…me?”, he lifted his eyes from the notebook.
“Yes, I will give you 10 zibs if you go through the portal.”
“Okay.”, goblin said without hesitation and raised his open palm.
“Half now, half when you return.”, Shinigami counted 5 zibs to the slightly sooty green palm.
Goblin took the coin and darted to a closet. After a moment of rummaging he returned with a weird looking suit, made from small wooden barrel and a glass helmet on top. He opened the barrel, stepped inside and extended his arms and legs, becoming a walking barrel. Then he proceeded to creep up the stairs.
Shinigami and Crix followed the barrel-goblin upstairs. Katrille and Wataru decided not to intervene with this project and continued to describe the fight and how they defeated the large elemental to Brix, who took the notebook and wrote everything down.
Some time later both goblins and Rakdos girl returned, almost unscathed, if you would ignore that one of the goblins was convulsing from tiny electrical discharges that were still running back and forth on his skin.
“Sizzlix reported that another creature is coming close to the portal.”, Crix announced.
“I…I saw big… ick… element…ick…al.”, convulsions made it hard for Sizzlix to speak, but his eyes were saying that his sacrifice was forth it. “…a sea…ick…, it walked over a sea of ligh…ick…ning.”
“Any ideas on what we could do with the portal to stop any other elementals from getting through?”, Katrille asked.
“I think Sullemand would be helpful in this moment. Where is he anyway?”, Wataru turned to Brix.
“He left for a morning walk few hours ago.”
“And when he should return?”
Doors opened before Wataru could get his answer. A tall well dressed vedalken stepped in the laboratory.
“Brix, report!”, his voice was calm but commanding.
Goblin handed the notebook to Sullemand. Vedalken’s eyes skimmed over the abrupt writing and flipped behind the last note, obviously expecting to find something more.
“What is this? This is all?”, he sounded calm, but two goblins lowered their heads as if being scolded.
“We tried, but the chaos…”, Brix mumbled.
“There were elementals and explosions…”, Crix joined the explanation.
“I investigated the portal.”, Sizzlix said proudly, “I want to rec…ick…recommend that the portal must be closed due to incoming large creature.”
“I will be the judge of that.”, Sullemand looked at the group standing in the middle of the lab, “You may leave now.”
“So much for a ‘thank you’?”, Shinigami scoffed, “We saved your laboratory from smoke-lighting-blobs!”
“Brix took care of reward to my knowledge, I need no more of your services.”, Sullemand said while walking past the group, “Good bye.”
Group stood there watching tall vedalken followed by two goblins walk up the stairs.
“You know, I think it would be best if we just leave.”, Katrille opened the door.
“Sure”, Wataru stepped through into morning sun.
Outside the chaos had calmed down, morning was resuming it’s normal pace. A group of Azorius lawmages were filling a report and evaluating the damage caused by this explosion. Nai walked up towards the group, gently nodding to Wataru.
“Where have you been? You missed a whole bunch of action.”, Wataru scolded the human rogue.
“Here and there. Something came up and I had to tend to it.”, Nai looked over the burn marks on Wataru’s grey skin, “Somebody managed to rough you up pretty bad. Can’t stay out of trouble I see?”
“No, it was an…”, his explanation was cut short by someone shouting his name in the street.
“Mister Manchiki, Wataru Manchiki!”, an elven knight came striding towards the loxodon.
“This is I. What you want?”
“I have a letter from Selesnya, mister Vuduin Brykas sent me to find you.”, elf was dressed in heavy armor, adorned by pieces of living plants.
“It is rare to have a Selesnyan military member to deliver a message. Why is this so important?”, Wataru inquired.
“I am sorry I do not know. I was tasked only to deliver this message.”
“Excuse me!”, one of Azorius group members split from the group and approached the party, “Would you happen to know anything about this chaos?”
“We need a drink before we talk, morning took us by surprise, heh!”, Shinigami grabbed the hands of Selesnya courier and Azorius lawmage and dragged them behind her. “Come I know a place nearby!”
Water and Some Fire inn was almost empty at this hour. A single sleeping human snored silently on one of the bigger round tables and an old goblin sat at the end of the bar and drank in silence.
“I will need more of your fire, orge lady!”, Shinigami was in weirdly good mood all of a sudden, but nobody wanted to question her change of heart.
“Name’s Jura. Same as yesterday?”, her voice was still sweet and soft.
“Yes, that will be five, no six shots.”
Six glasses were placed on the counter, murky liquid poured in.
“For a wonderful morning!”, Shinigami gulped her drink, others followed.
“Why is this place called Water and Some Fire?”, elven girl with Azorius badge came up to the bar.
“Because this is what I have here.”, Jura motioned towards the shelves filled with bottles behind the bar, “Fire”, then pointed to a large water barrel with a laddle on the side, “and water.”
“Would you have something more fiery in these shelves of yours? We have two new friends today.”, Shinigami leaned on the bar.
“I always have something special”, Jura pulled an ornamented bottle from below the bar with a green tinted liquid inside. “Care to try my latest brew?”
Shinigami looked at the bootle through squinted eyes, then nodded.
“Pour in another six.”
“I can not drink any more, I am on duty”, a gentle sylvan accented voice came over from the table.
Rakdos spun on her heels and pushed one of the glasses back to the ogre.
“Drink with us, Jura, we are going to be friends.”, small pale girl was grinning from ear to ear, almost maniacally.
“You are very enthusiastic today… What is your name, tiny human?”, ogre innkeeper took the small glass between her fingers.
“You can call me Shinigami. Will you come to the Gore House tomorrow?”
“Oh, the festival? No, I will tend to my customers, as I always do.”, Jura gently shook her bulking mostly bald head. “But my regulars will fill me in on what will happen there, usually they talk about it at least for a week.”
“Well, lets drink for the upcoming spectacle then!”, Shinigami gulped her second glass and frowned while slamming the glass on the counter, “Ah! Strong one!”
That noise woke up a man sleeping on the nearby table. “Huh? Wha? Jura, what day is this?”
“Friday, Khumid, Friday morning”.
“Morning…”, Khumid mumbled placing his head back on the table.
“We should decide on what we are going to do for the rest of the day, which does not involve drinking.” Katrille was still holding her glass with the greenish liquid, eyeing it carefully. “I had a message from Iosif, he promised a reward for information on the cult which took in his accomplice. The Cult of Life. Anyone knows anything about it?”
Wataru lowered his head slightly, and fixated his gaze on the empty glass. “I am very interested in the reward, we should investigate. I heard members giving out leaflets throughout Tin Street.”
Elf from Azorius looked around the group gathered here, “This morning I heard there is a rally around Seventh Zonot. The cult you mentioned is doing some sort of protest.”, she placed her empty glass back on the table, “I know I have just met you, you can call me Rozhe, but if you are going to investigate the cult, I would like to join you.”
“Why should we take you with us?”, Nai asked obviously unnerved by a new member in their group.
“Because I need information and I can talk your behinds out of sticky situations if need be.” Rozhe looked Nai straight in her eyes.
“This is a bit weird to hear that kind of words from Azorius”, Wataru shifted in his chair to face both newcomer elves.
“Oh this?” Rozhe pointed at her badge, “My relative gave me a temporary job within his jurisdiction just to get me started in this city.”
The elven knight with Selesnya’s armor stood up, “I should be going…”
“No, you will come with us.”, Wataru said, “Until I get to speak with Mr. Brykas.”
Elf hesitated for a while, then sat down. “Can I see what message I have delivered?”, his curiosity got the better of him.
“Um, no? But you will be able to come with us to the gathering Rozhe mentioned. I think you might see there something of interest.”
Sun was already high in the sky as the group left the inn. Shinigami had her cheeks slightly red from the alcohol, her flute in her lips and a song flowing around her, making some of the bystanders turn and look at the weird group of people treading through the streets.
They walked one of the main streets down to Seventh Zonot and had to stop before reaching the walkway around the large hole in the ground. A group of cloaked figures had filled the street and were shouting something at the Boros legionaries and Azorius peacekeepers further down the street. There was an agitator in front of the crowd, who was keeping the gathered figures involved in some sort of protest.
“They have messed with nature!”, figure in the front raised his hands to the sky, “The one and only force that knows it’s own path!” Crowd murmured. “They are destroying the order!”, figure gestured somewhere towards the Zonot, “They are sitting in their hole and planing on destroying what worked in perfect harmony for millenniums” Crowd murmured in agreement. “Just look at the last few months. Anybody got stung by waspcrab recently?” Another murmur in agreement. “And now they are promising to fix it by changing what is natural yet again! Those fools! They are messing with forces they do not comprehend! We must stop the change!” Crowd began to chant “Stop the change! Stop the change!”
Group of adventurers stopped behind the crowd.
“This looks fun!”, Shinigami changed her tune to match the rhythm of the chant.
She skipped towards a large hulking figure, grabbed a large horn sticking from it’s head and jumped on it’s shoulders.
“Mmmwhat?!”, a minotaur in similar colored cloak as other people gathered here lowed in surprise.
“I can’t see very well from the back, stop the change! Stop the change!”, Shinigami explained to the surprised mino and joined the crowd.
“Mmmokay, stop mthe mchange! Stop mthe mchange!”, the minotaur continued in his deep voice, now holding a small girl on his shoulders.
From the position she got, Rakdos took a clearer look at the figure in front. It was a human, standing on some sort of barrel, with brown curly hair and weirdly large nose. His right arm had a number 3 tattooed on it.
“I think it would be best if we talked with the man in front, I am going to suggest he ends this demonstration and comes with us.” Rozhe said and pressed through the crowd.
Others stood slightly further back and watched as the crowd pressed forward into the Boros line, forcing the legionaries to strain against the crowd with their shields. The man in the front was agitating the crowd further, but his voice drowned in the chants. Suddenly a screech came from the depths of Zonot, followed by Azorius lawmages casting a new order. “Ruling 9754, illegitimate gatherings directed against a guild are to be disbanded using non lethal force.” Letters appeared above the crowd and were read out loud by the lawmages behind the cover of shield line. Then a water wyvern rose up above the crowd and a jet of water hit the crowd.
Behind the crowd, Nai seeing as this is not going to end well, called out to everyone and led them to a side passage, following few alleys and underground passages.
During the chaos Rozhe grabbed the agitator by his hand and tried to magically persuade him to come with her, unfortunately at the very moment a jet of water hit the man in the back and he fell backwards landing behind the advancing line of shields. Rozhe quickly showed her badge to the closest soldier and demanded to be given way, to which the shield line slightly broke out and let her slip through. She saw the man running away from the two lawmages.
During all the chaos young lawmage Alan reflexively shot a holding spell at the running man, without even reading the rights, for which he was scolded by his superior later on. But at that moment robed man froze in place, Nai appeared out of a stairwell leading from Zonot, pointed Wataru to grab the frozen man and all of the party disappeared back in the damp tunnels of undercity.