Waypoint RPG

Alpha Session 4

Alighting and lighting up

Picking up immediately from last session, the orc introduces themselves as Lysandre (or Lissie for short), before rolling up their sleeves to reveal — as the thief the group pursued last session also had — a bunch of tattoos on their arms. Tapping their fingers along an inked musical stave on their forearm, Lissie produces a piece of flute music which suitably covers their speech from any would-be eavesdroppers. Lissie apologies, and says they didn’t intend to get the group wrapped up in this, but is willing to help get them out of it. Hesitant to explain any further,  Elinor reiterates that she does not understand the ticket-stealing scam in the slightest, and asks if Lissie is trying to recruit them into some kind of thieves’ guild. Losing patience, the orc snaps and insists they are a legitimate political organisation agitating for…something.

They also explain, when questioned, that nobody was supposed to remember their daring train robbery, and that whilst the group slept members of their organisation patched up the hole Fi blew in the luggage car. When pressed on how exactly they did that, they quip, “Not for nothing, but one of you is wearing a skull on their head and another has dang lizard eyes. I take it you’re all magic users?” Something which Fi, Elinor and Serra aren’t chomping at the bit to confirm, but  Roe is eager to dismiss — still being in denial about her sudden ability to speak to Baxter and all.

Promising to explain more once they reach a safe place and trying to speed the group up as the train pulls into the station at T’Eilt, an industrious city nobody in the party are familiar with but which Lissie regards with dismay. As everyone gets ready to disembark, cramming their luggage into Elinor’s cauldron — which, not recognising it, Lissie keeps referring to as some kind of stew pot, a mistake Roe and Serra are keen to maintain — and dragging it loudly towards the door, the orc suggests maybe taking a stealthier approach. They pop out to make sure the coast is clear, and give the four of them (plus Baxter) time to change out of their bedclothes. Roe isn’t totally on board with the plan, since she managed to grab a ticket during their pursuit of the thief the previous night, until Elinor reminds her that Baxter doesn’t have one and they’re still trying to pretend he’s a gnoll. Still freaked out about being able to understand her dog familiar, she bundles herself up in a cloak and worries a little about the apparently magic-friendly environ Lissie is planning on delivering them to will accept her as readily as they will her compatriots. Serra is cautiously optimistic about their chances of escaping scot-free, knowing she can just transform into an animal and flee regardless, but stashes her skulls and pulls up her hood just to make sure. Fi doesn’t entirely believe Lissie but doesn’t see many other options, but is committed to wearing her regular fancy clothes, regardless of the desire for the group to be incognito. Elinor, having had a weird few months, is just willing to go with the flow at this point, although she finds few inconspicuous clothing choices in her wardrobe of fancy magician outfits, so settles for taking off her top hat.

Joining Lissie in the hallway outside their compartment, they debate whether the best course of action is blending into the crowds of the station, or sneaking out track-side. Serra asks for Lissie’s opinion, and they think joining the other passengers disembarking would work, since it’s peak time and the station will be busy. They also note that, being an orc, they might stand out a little with the other members of the group; Roe asks if there are many other orcs around in T’Eilt, to which they sadly shake their head. Serra suggests that, if she holds the cauldron stuffed with all their worldly possessions, she might be able to transform into a mosquito and the heavy item will disappear, as all her clothes and equipment do whenever she takes on an animal form, before reappearing when they’re safe. Unfortunately, her attempt fails, and she becomes a buzzing insect without the strength to fly; Elinor tries to help, but her spell simply creates more mosquitoes, the sudden appearance of which draws the attention of other passengers preparing to leave their compartments.

Pressed for time and starting to appear less confident, Lissie harries everyone to get off the train and try their best not to stand out. Elinor suggests lending the orc her hat, but isn’t sure it’ll hide much, while Serra starts rummaging through her bag to find a bonnet, before realising that Lissie — in her official train uniform, unlike the generic formal wear the thief had worn — can simply pretend they are escorting the five of them to some form of detention as stowaways. Lissie assents, asking that the group keep an eye out for Antonio, since the head ticket inspector is the individual most likely to rumble their scheme. Serra somewhat condescendingly repeats the request to Baxter, who replies that he hasn’t done anything wrong.

They are met at the ticket barrier by a goat-person who asks for tickets, which Elinor — unfamiliar with train protocol — questions. Serra looks imploringly at Lissie, who doesn’t seem to have the situation quite as in hand as it seemed, and in the silence the goat sighs and picks up a clipboard to check their names against. Serra lies and says her name is Caroline, but notes they won’t be on the manifest anyway, since they’re stowaways. Lissie is galvanised into continuing the plan, and the goat lets them through, pointing out the office to deliver them to at the back of the station. Past the gates, the group — lead by the orc — struggle to push their way through the throng of passengers, starting when they notice Antonio stood near the office the goat pointed out, scanning the crowd. After ascertaining that Lissie is kind of making this up as they go along and that Antonio is clearly on the lookout for them, Elinor summons a swarm of mosquitoes right in the tiger person’s face, having dismissed the suggestion that they blow something up to distract him as “plan D”; the insects works well enough that they continue pushing through the crowd towards one of the exits.

As they reach the back of the station Rurron, the tiger-lady from the train, grabs Fi’s arm. Not recognising her initially, she leaps away from her paw and yelps “Get off me!”, causing a bit of a kerfuffle. Frightened, Serra backs away from the scene, whilst Roe doesn’t understand what the Rurron’s doing here. “Hey, are you guys sneaking off?” she asks, to which Elinor responds “You didn’t want us on the train any more, so…we’re not!” Not swayed by this argument, or the suggestion that having disembarked the group are no longer under the “jurisdiction of train law,” Rurron implores the group to return to the cabin she thought they had been locked in. Attempting to parley, Roe points out that drinking on the job is perhaps as much an offense as having no ticket, referencing the state she and Elinor found her in when they went to report the theft the previous night. “Whoa whoa!” she raises her paws defensively, a little hurt. “I thought you were cool!” As things appear to be heating up, Baxter books it, Lisse following after him in the direction of the exit.

Serra begins to slide her skull out of her back and begins to flee, too, whilst the other three trip over Elinor’s dropped cauldron. Realising Rurron is super-pissed and going on the offensive, Fi ducks behind the cauldron, which provides ample defense as her attacker’s claws clang off of it. Taking advantage of this gap in the action Elinor tries to get away, but struggles to push through the crowds, and Fi attempts to box Rurron on the nose, as a warning shot. She swipes back at her, but is pulled — along with Elinor and Roe — through the sea of people by Serra.

Upon reaching the steps outside the station, the group are given their first look at T’Eilt: a huge, industrialised city, the landscape dominated by huge chimneys, factory buildings and houses, all covered in a thin cloud of smog. The crowds have thinned out enough that they can move unencumbered, checking over their shoulder for Rurron. They reconvene with Baxter and Lissie, who have taken shelter in an alleyway, the orc asking what took them so long. “I had to fight the tiger lady!” says Fi, to which Lissie asks if anybody saw them. Incredulously, Elinor replies of course people saw, to which Fi insists she had no choice but to start swinging. With time still very much of the essence, Lissie leads them through a labyrinthine series of alleyways, the group getting intermittent glimpses at the city’s main streets. The further they go, the stone walls and cobbled streets begin to give way to plantlife, weeds bursting from the ground and vines growing up the side of buildings. Lissie stops once they reach a clearing: the city limits.

They beckon Serra to have a look at what awaits them, and she takes in a large area of scrubland, a dirt path leading beyond the valley-like bowl. Serra notices a couple of buildings either side of the path, albeit without any noticeable barrier to suggest it’s a checkpoint, despite what Lissie says. The orc tells them their promised safe place is beyond this point, but they’re not so sure it’ll be easy to get there.

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