The Vanguard Institute – Part 7

Q: Adventure Status – Unstable 4 (12)
Developer: PC Enabler
(1d20: [15] = 15)
Birth, Message, Target

Season: Spring

Night 1
Weather: Warm
Terrain: Forest
Developer: But…
(1d20: [8] = 8)
Ability, Silence, Information

Q: Does Rhesus make Kis take watch?
(1d20+0: [19]+0 = 19)
Yes, and Twilight, Valuable, Revealing

Q: Does anything happen while on watch?
(1d20+0: [3]+0 = 3)

Day 2
Weather:(1d20: [4] = 4)
Terrain: Forest
(1d12: [7] = 7)
1 Feature -> (1d100: [57] = 57) Large Clearing -> (1d100: [94] = 94) Structure -> (1d100: [29] = 29) Farm House
Developer: And…
Laugh, Resident, Fetid
(1d20: [2] = 2)

Giant fucking wasps! And here I am deathly allergic to them and I still stood up and fucking fought them. Needless to say I wasn’t surprised we beat it. Nor that Rhesus was the first to fucking go down, he was always careless.

But when Nyx woke us up for our watch I was still dead tired. Nightmares plagued my dreams — giant bees killing me before I could tell Nyx how I felt. He needed something from me. But I wasn’t sure what I should do. It’s not like we’d have any alone time. Didn’t matter anyway as I sat down next to the dead fire with Kis the Kobold next to me.

It was quiet. And boring. I lit the small fire and kept warm in the chilly night air. The trees outside gave off light, but I was a bit cold. I was always cold when I was too far from Nyx. He was perpetually warm.

I pulled out the slip of paper that took up residence in my pocket and I held it close to the flames, not close enough to burn, but close enough that the contents revealed themselves to me.

Kis watched from his side of the fire, but made no move to come closer. I also pulled out my journal and pencil so I could write down what it said so I didn’t need a fire to figure everything out.

I wasn’t nearly as good at drawing as Nyx was, but I drew the symbols on the paper and studied them in the firelight.

It made no sense. The symbols meant nothing to me, and the order even less so. And I’m sure the placement was important.

Q: Is the note about a heist he’s supposed to do?
(1d20+0: [6]+0 = 6)

Q: a person he’s supposed to meet?
(1d20+0: [4]+0 = 4)

Q: something he’s supposed to find?
(1d20+0: [6]+0 = 6)

Q: is it a meeting place and time?
(1d20+0: [14]+0 = 14)

Q: Is it a specific day and time?
(1d20+0: [10]+0 = 10)

Q: Is it anywhere they are going on this mission?
(1d20+0: [12]+0 = 12)
Yes, but Child, Dimension, Important

Q: is there a village on the way to the swamp?
(1d20+0: [19]+0 = 19)
Yes, and Web, Downward, Slave

[!note] Town and NPC

Darkwell is a village front for a slaver ring. NPC in town to meet Avyne is part of the Obsidian Syndicate.

Q: Figure out the message? (hindered) (15)
(1d20: [15] = 15)
Developer: NPC Inhibitor
Gap, Floating, Message
(1d20: [17] = 17

In the quiet of the night, the dead bug starting to smell sickening even Kis got annoyed and started digging a grave to hide the corpse. He did rummage through the creatures chitten body to look for anything of use. What could a giant wasp have? Except maybe more of it’s deadly poison on it.

I shouted a whisper at the rummaging Kobold, “Why don’t you harvest some of the venom?”

Kis smiled. “Excellent. Yes! Good for you? Yes?”

I nodded. “Great for me, and even Rhesus.”

Kis nodded and pulled out several vials from his pouch and began the process of carefully collecting the venom from the stinger. He was struggling. I sighed and got up, “Here let me do it.”

I’d never done it either, but I could do better than Kis I was certain. He did give me a hand helping out with holding the dead corpse steady while I attempted to drain the stinger.

Q: Harvest Venom from the Giant Glowing Wasp (12)
(1d20: [16] = 16)
Developer: None
(1d20: [3] = 3)

[!note] Artifact
L6 Vial of Mind Disrupting Poison

We manage to get a vial full of the venom. I didn’t know how many uses it would have, but it was an excellent way to keep the mind disturbing poison on hand. It had done a number on Rhesus, it could help in a fight.

Kis went back to digging the hole and I studied the note in my journal. I had seen the writing before, The Obsidian Syndicate used it to hide messages in plain sight. Of course anyone who intercepted them would know who it’s from. I hated puzzles. But it was part of the thing. Ever since I was little, someone from the Obsidian Syndicate had watched over me. Helped me out of jams taught me all about the undercurrents that even a small town like Oceana had. The Vanguard Institute wasn’t the only organization recruiting in their self made village.

No, there were several organizations that pooled their resources into the Vanguard, and they didn’t even know it. The Vanguard that was. I had pledged my loyalty to them when Nyx needed help. Swore my life away to keep him safe. Nyx didn’t even know. He never could know.

The sun peaked through the horizon, though the sky was covered in a thick layer of clouds that threatened to pour down rain upon us. It was going to be a horrible day of travel.

But just as the others started to rouse I put the last piece of the puzzle together and had a fully deciphered message.

Sasha, Ward of Saleh,

Heed this riddled call, dear friend,
To Darkwell village, your steps must wend.
Before the new moon’s silent bloom,
Find Avyne’s presence in the gloom.

The Mockingbird

I tucked the journal back into my pouch and started making some breakfast. I hoped we were on the road before the rain started to fall.

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