We rewound slightly and as Althia chats up the Black Dog, and Verion and Rudolfus are engaged in their farcical arm-wrestle, a lone half-orc ronin enters the tavern. Once she and Rudolfus notice each other, the recognition is immediate. They had trained together! This was a warrior whose strong arm we could certainly use on our mission. Since Tesora was eager for work, she was only too glad to join the small group on their quest – Verion’s protests notwithstanding.
Dracian enters with a small possee, but the dog upholds its end of the bargain and we know that Dracian isn’t who he seems to be. While Tesora and Verion pick up their armor and weapons and head to the back alley, Rudolfus and Althia approach Dracian to 1) see if he recognizes Rudolfus and 2) lure him out back if he doesn’t. Dracian greets Rudolfus as ‘Marcus’ and is interested in hearing news from home, even in private, but will only follow Rudolfus so far. Althia brings Verion and Tesora towards the front of the tavern while Rudolfus spins a yarn. Verion notices that one of Dracian’s crew is watching them from the back alley. We don’t jump Dracian then, but Rudolfus confirms that Dracian’s voice is deeper than it should be. As Dracian, his thuggish friend, and his three hanger-ons head to their next watering hole – we attack.
Althia uses entangle and thunderwave, while Tesora uses her shield to bash Rudolfus’ thug into unconsciousness. Rudolfus tries to knock faux-Dracian out, taking severe burns in the process, but it’s Verion’s arrow (!) that does the job. Dracian’s face distorts into that of someone else! Someone his thug-friend calls Marco! The hanger-ons basically all flee, but Althia stops one in his tracks. We quickly stabilize Marco and then make off with him and his cowering friend before the town guard can come upon us.
In the shelter of the dilapted stables of a haunted-looking house, we interrogate the two men. (Well, Tesora interrogates them by acting like we already know everything and Verion’s bow adds emphasis to her words.) We find out that Marco and Dracian often liked to switch faces as a lark. Marco hasn’t seen Dracian in a couple of weeks, but he thinks he and his girl Roznai must be in the Underworld: the Salvaranian Catacombs. They have traveled there several times in the past weeks, but not been seen recently. The only way he knows of how to get there, other than through the castle, is by asking Rofa the witch. That’s how Dracian did it, but Marco doesn’t know the details. He does know that we are standing in front of her very stoop.
We knock, but no one answers and we are eventually obliged to move on when the guard start to get curious about why we’d choose to linger at Rofa the Sightless’ door so late at night. We see a shadow watching us from a window as we go…
We are fortunate enough to run into ___, the priestess who said she would help us. She takes us to her church, sees to our comfort, and tells us what she can of the Underworld and Roznai. Roznai is a young woman who came to the town several months ago and asked to peruse the old texts about the Underworld; offering her own knowledge in exchange. She was clearly fascinated. Although most worship the three Gods above, there are also those that worship the three Gods below. Devils. Ancestor spirits. Sometimes they will appear in the guise of the departed dead to exert influence on the living. Hundreds of years ago, when heathens observed ancestor worship, the catacombs housed their dead. Now, it is said it is also where they continue to walk. Foolish adventures sometimes enter the catacombs to seek riches. But it is only after a lengthy petition process that Lady di Tama would grant access to the catacombs through her passage. Rofa may be our only option.