After a wary night in SlateBasin Prison, Tanendil and Tetyana see their companions being escorted from solitary. Tak, Fearen, and Cocoanan are roughly tossed back into general population, suffering light jabs from the guards which are, like most things the guards do, half-hearted. Tak moves himself to the back of the yard, facing in with his own back to the cliff and the water. Pensive and still, he watches every move before him. While Tetyana and Tanendil discuss how they should proceed, Cocoanan thinks only of food (and somewhat less so fucking and fighting). Fearen, however, moves off to find Devrack and continue their discussion. He is wary to trust, but something tells him that halfling could be useful.
Devrack is posted near the elves, a group Faeren is already wary of. Fearen’s first inquiry is about the magical suppression that saturates the very air around the prison. “I’d love to help,” Devrack begins, “but my back is kiling me, my neck too. I can’t handle another night on the rocks that pass for bunks on the south Wall. Since you guys don’t look like the back-rubbing kind, why don’t you ‘convince’ one of these other bozos that it’s in their best interest to give up their little piece of paradise. I get a better bunk, you get a crash course in SlateBasin’s anti-magic infrastructure. Get me?” Knowing the difficulty that even walking the yard can cause, Faren reasons with Devrack, eventually convincing him that a whole bunk may not be necessary if he can get a pillow or blanket to make his rests more comfortable. With this deal in mind, Faren heads back to consult with the group.
Tetyana is unshakably distrustful of the halfling. She protests, but with little effect. Tanendil hears of the deal and wanders off, meanwhile, the others notice a strange man sitting in their little group. A slender, unkempt man with a hideous growth or abrasion on his face, sitting in the dirt and drawing symbols in the sand. His demeanor was so calm, and presence so unassuming, no one had noticed him, although it can be assumed he had been there since their release from solitary. His name, he explains, is Galafrink, but you may call him ‘Professor’. No one seems to protest, he has probably heard too much already.
Tanendil returns with a damp and odorous blanket. It seems the elves are willing to converse with him, while his demeanor keeps him protected from aggressive action (no one feels tough beating an old man, except that bar owner from the last session). He has secured himself a bunk, albeit one upon which guards frequently urinate from the tower. In any case, the blanket is acquired. Fearen Returns to Devrack, who tells him that the anti-magic field is housed in an indiscriminate hut outside the prison yard gate. He also mentions that food will be brought in around midday, and that he has more information to offer if Fearen can secure him some better food than the scraps usually left behind after the other groups have taken their fill. Fearen returns to relay his newly gleaned information and finds that Tanendil has retired for a nap in his newly acquired bunk. Fearen also outlines Devrack’s latest offer; Tetyana still has her doubts, and Cocoanan is still hungry.
Meanwhile Tak returns from his position and reports that he has a pretty good understanding of the guard rotation. He surveys the group and spots the Professor. “Realy? This is what we’re doing now?” He gestures to the mysterious man who looks up nonchalantly. Despite his best efforts, Tak dry heaves upon seeing the unpleasant visage of the newcomer, who seems quite comfortable in his new group of allies. “I get that reaction quite a bit,” he offers, seeming genuinely unoffended. With no real choice but to just accept it, Tak takes the new food delivery information and, with Tetyana’s help, begins to cobble together a plan for a daring lunchtime escape. It would require access to the main gate, a solid opportunity, and a full scale riot. Quickly they begin delegating tasks: Coco needs to start an uprising, Tetyana needs to sneak around and take care of the guards, Tak is to survey the yard and lead the actual escape. It all seems so simple, until Devrack comes back.
“What are you morons planning? It’s so obvious you sitting out in the open like some plotting villain from a bad play. Listen, I got a good thing going here, and if you fuck it up, I’ll make sure you get the worst of it; undertsand?” Devrack seems more concerned than threatening. He continues, “What, are you planning some riot? Get out at lunchtime? You really are morons. They double the guard, you aren’t the first brash adventurer to try to get out of here. You don’t even know what lunchtimes look like freshblood.”
“I mean, he’s got a point.” Faeren mutters. As if on queue, the lunchtime activity starts outside the gate. Large planks of food are loaded in the guard towers and lowered into the corners of the yard. No open gate, no access, no escape. Devrack smugly looks on. “If you want out,” he says, “we’re going to have to be a little more clever.” The collection of food was surprisingly civil, and once Devrack got eating he got talking. Combined with Tak’s observation of guard rotation, the party discovers that perhaps first light is the much better time for escape, as the gate will actually be unlocked for the duration the prison’s resupply. During the course of their planning, Tanendil recalls that the name of the prison is actually the name of a Family of elves from Tison who have a history of opposing the centralized governing bodies of Reigh Proper and attempting to set up a new capital. Their family has adapted over the years, changing their name to Elderwilde-Slate, whose insignia matches the symbol on the guard’s uniforms. Knowing that the guards are going to be well supplied, Devrack and the party acknowledge that they will need to be better equipped themselves. Devrack can get one party member out of the main gate briefly. That night, he bribes one of the guards to distract his partner, leaving the gate unattended. He slips Faeren a key and they send him to the nearby armoury, where he manages to grab and carry three short swords and Cocoanan’s mace. The next morning, at daylight, they ready their arms secretly and plant themselves by the yard gate, which is always unlocked during this time. Only two guards stand at the gate, distracted by the movement of the incoming shipment.
Cocoanan, Faeren, and Devrack attempt to quickly lift the gate. Instead, it gets about halfway up before jamming. Quickly Tak and the Professor slide under, followed by Tetyana. They easily strike down the two guards while Tanendil casually strolls into the courtyard. The Professor races towards the source of the anti-magic field and, finding the hut unguarded and unlocked, rushes inside to find a simple crystal the size of a fist hovering above an arcane pedestal. He throws his robe over top of the sinister jewel and deftly drops kicks it. While the crystal slides harmlessly to the ground, he lands quite harshly himself; luckily he is immediately invigorated with a sense of vitality flowing through him again. The weight of magic suppression is lifted.
In the courtyard, the entire party feels the effects of the field dissipating. Tanendil casually summons an icy hand to drain the life from the guard in a nearby tower. Meanwhile, Cocoanan, Tak, Fearin, and Tetyana begin cleaving their way through the guards between them and the main gate. Cocoanan severs limbs and tosses guards aside like ragdolls while his allies work strategically toward freedom. The Professor, however, takes his time. He holds the crystal in his hand, testing for weight, and with a few utterances launches it at searing speeds toward a nearby guard, splitting his skull and leaving him bleeding in the dirt. Beams shoot forth from his hands, frying two more nearby guards and they run toward the escapees. He strolls out of the courtyard in full control and with a smile on his face.
As Tetyana breaks into the darkness, she can see only the expanse of the plains before her. She begins to sprint towards the horizon where the first sparks of the sun are beginning to crest. Behind her, Tak breaks from the gate, but he hears some horses in the darkness to the his left. He moves to them, and quickly assesses that they are sturdy beasts used to being ridden and handled. He leads the pack toward the gate where Faerin, Cocoanan, the pair of wizards and Devrack await. They ride out after Tetyana, who grabs hold of Tak’s hand as he rides by and swings up atop the vacant horse beside him. Behind the escaping group a battalion of guards has started a full pursuit. They, too, are riding seasoned mounts and making good time for catching the wayward escapees, but as the sun peaks before them, the ground begins to shake and a silhouette appears in the horizon. There, atop carts and accompanied by a battalion of their own, is Algaareth and VadYeth, true to their word and charging in force to rescue their missing conscripts. As the adventurers meet the Bureau’s force they turn reverse their charge to ride against their would be captors. The wind whips past and the grass trembles as the two groups collide… To be continued.