The party idled away several days. Janda-Shan kept in touch with Sage Batson, who hasn’t made much progress lately due to distractions working with Fussbottom. Whooat continued to check on her order, whose reverend Mother remains in mysteeerious seclusion. Lucan elfed about.
Finally, the day of the Duke’s autumn costume party arrived. The guards found Lucan attempting to smuggle in his daggers, but fortunately the guard recognized the group and was content to just hold on to the blades and let the party into the, er, party.
J’ayne was there (dressed as a human; Fussbottom vetoed her original idea of “something dignified”) to help them network, but they did fine without her hovering. They met Kingdom’s End’s guard captain Malloran, a half-orc full of gusto but weak on tactics, who suggested the party might help the guardsmen out sometime. A representative of the Mages’ Guild, Leppedee Glibbleflang (sp?), whose semi-illusory costumes changed throughout the night, discussed the potential of a Guild outlet in the city; he was unimpressed with the magical goings on in the area but showed great interest in the story of the Crown as told by Janda-Shan. Most reassuringly, Mother Euphausia was there, dressed as a sultry barmaid (minus the youth) and pretending to be drunk so as to chaperon the young ladies in attendance.
The crowd bussled about Ambassador Klech of Prosciutto, an island nation far to the south, famous for its sailors’ prowess and its mens’ tradition of never uncovering their faces in public. The ambassador is in Kingdom’s End to help coordinate a strike against piracy in the south sea, and he’s in attendance tonight wearing a large complex sea dragon costume.
The actual costume contest was a crown-pleaser. Whooat made it to the semi-finals, but Lucan and Janda-Shan made it to the finals, competing against Ambassador Klech. Janda-Shan was an early favorite, complementing his costume and native appearance with appropriate illusions and even flying over the crowd’s heads, but his showmanship ran out of gusto. Lucan won the event, partly with graceful interpretive dancing, partly by showing off his marksmanship with borrowed cutlery (causing the guards some consternation). He was awarded a hefty gem (later hocked) and a trophy in the shape of a shaved ape holding a gleaming blade.
Some time later, the party winding down, there was a commotion at the residence. A group of sack-cloth constructs had crashed in and split into two groups, one going after the Duke, the other after his daughter in the opposite wing of the house. The guards inside had been killed or knocked out, and Captain Malloran was slowed down by his choice of costume (having lost a bet, he was dressed as a prisoner, complete with shackles) so it fell to the party to intervene.
Initially they focused on the duke as directed by Malloran, but the Duke was obsessed with his daughter’s safety, jeopardizing his own, so Lucan split off to help her. He found not only more sackboys, but the Ambassador Klech leading the charge in his sea dragon costume (and oddly spitting glue and rampaging with more strength than a diplomat should have claim to). Slowly they whittled down the sackboys, with Whooat taking the worst of the counterattacks as she pulled the Duke back his own potentially deadly wounds.
The duke was secured, and Lucan had slowed down Klech (with belated help from Malloran keeping them from swarming him), but not enough. Klech smashed into the Dukelette’s room, then smashed through a window out into the garden, dragging the girl with him. Lucan and Janda-Shan pursued, but Whooat collapsed in the hall due to bleeding, very near death herself. Janda-Shan spotted Mother Euphasia helping the crowd and called her into the residence, but Whooat’s time was tight.
Lucan was promptly glued to the wall of the house by the ambassador’s inappropriate exporationations, where he would remain until it didn’t matter. Janda-Shan put the ambassador to sleep briefly, and the Dukelette Priscilla as well, long enough for Duke Wayne to grab her and take her to safety. Euphausia revived Whooat in the nick of time, then saw to the guards who had been kabonked earlier. Whooat was still greviously injured and had to staunch her own bleeding, the disappointment of Euphausia, who preaches a more self-sacrificing and less useful approach. Whooat joined the others in the garden.
Little by little, the party broke down the ambassador and his costume—Lucan throwing scores of spoons, Janda-Shan throwing fire and clouds of blades, Whooat throwing herself. It became clear that they were fighting an impostor, a rotten flesh costruct, not the real ambassador. Finally the thing fell, having nearly escaped the estate, and having knocked Whooat to her customary place as death’s door. The party gathered ‘round her, and Lucan poured a healing potion down her throat. She gagged and choked on it, but that was alright, because it’s a healing potion. She awake and helped survey the mess.
The constructs had gotten into the party with cleverly forged invitations, each slightly enchanted to show a convincing endorsement, different for whoever read it. The ambassador and his guards had been knocked out and shoved into bushes. Most of the Duke’s guards had been knocked out as well—two inside the house were killed though.
The Duke rewarded the party by pronouncing them Friends of the City, the benefits of which are ambiguous except that their customary inn (the Laughing Little Person) now houses them for free, benefiting from their reputations. He also gave them a healing potion he had been keeping for his own use. Finally, young Dukelette Priscilla presented them with her “favorite blanky”, which turned out to be a powerful Cloak of Distortion.
The next morning they checked in with Sage Batson. He wants to go south to Lentry to get something to aid in divining the leftover gem from the Crown of Dude. Fussbottom has been having business troubles lately and his hired muscle balked after last night’s attack, so he needs somebody to escort a shipment of weapons to Lentry to help with the pirate counterattack. The party elects to kill two birds with one stone (presumably thrown by Lucan after he runs out of spoons) and escort Batson south along with the shipment.
At this point the DM grew weary of typing when he should be at work, realized others are tired of reading, and vowed to keep it brief next time.