While preparing for the next Journey, Trageon was called away by the order for a couple of weeks and Thanior has decided to stay behind and help turn Bog Luck’s headquarters into the groups safe house.
Revis keeps bugging Mara about when she wants to move on getting the rest of the Red Talons back into the fold. Mara begs the group to help her take care of stopping the Red Talon.
Helm works with his partner, Pashenel, ensuring his investment is doing well. Pash tells Helm that he has discovered that 3 days travel from here a zoo is beginning to start up, but that the animals are not treated well. Maybe even holding humanoids along with the exotic animals. A retired Ranger is supposedly the head of it , the Waterdeep Zoo, but has apparently went off the rails.
Imsa , in Ebon’s absence , has been doing research about curing her condition but it requires more investigation. Ebon , still not prying too much about her condition , is concerned for her. She has confided that she hates being green and she has only been this way for the last year. Ebon ensures that she has all of the resources needed.
Helm gives an ultimatum to the group, " I don’t care if you guys come or not, I have to check this zoo. Mara has been dragging her heals this long, a couple more days won’t hurt." The group agrees with Helm and decide to take the flying citadel toward the zoo to take care of it. Knowing how important animals are to their friend.
Zanlin pulls Pole aside to have a private conversation with him. Pole says, " nothing would please me more than doing this for you." Zanlin doesn’t know if he is up to the task, but Pole is positive he can keep on eye on Talis for him. Pulling his daggers, Pole waves them in the air , " if I get caught, should I use these? " , " No, No , no need for that, " Zanlin looks at Pole’s comical battle stance and just shakes his head.
As the group nears the zoo , Zanlin gives a rousing speech. The group feels very empowered and believe success is inevitable. They purvey the area trying to find a good place to land unnoticed. Leaving the Citadel about a half a mile out , the party flies down and due to Helm’s animal mastery the Wyverns stay calm and ensure a quiet landing. He sends the wyverns back to the castle with many ‘at a’boys’ and other coos.
As the group starts to investigate, a booming voice springs out of nowhere " you know, we are not open until next month" , Helm responds " I know but I have heard you may be in need of my assistance." " and who would you be ?" , " I am helm dundragon."
" you are not Helm Dundragon , Helm Dundragon is a much more imposing figure and commands respect, I will tell him of your impersonation." Zanlin , bored easily " Helm I tire of this, let’s move in " . The booming voices continues to taunt and goad the group, telling them that the Heroes of waterdeep are stronger than they are. Even when helm tells the voice that he has heard the animals are being mistreated, the voice dismisses him.
Growing weary of the taunts, Zanlin starts to Mock the voice viciously, silencing the voice momentarily. " Save your insults for someone who cares and keep your cheap parlor tricks for someone else ( regarding Helm as he has shifted into a direwolf ) " . Helm , growling in fury leads the group to the Zoo’s door.
The lock appears complex , though Ebon would surely have been able to unlock without all the distractions from Mara as she is constantly bitching and moaning , and the sound of a large door being opened comes from the right. Helm notices malnourished lion and two Lionesses in a cage close to us . Zanlin moves to cover and waits for something to come into his view, so he can make it look like a pin cushion as he summons his inner thanior.
Helm, in Direwolf form, moves toward the sound and sees a large pen has been opened. He holds waiting to see what appears before he comes back to warn the group. He doesn’t understand why Mara isn’t fighting beside him yet. He knows she loves doggy style. A Rhemorhaz charges into view. Helm inherently knows the dangers as being it swallows it’s opponents. A small dog chuckle escapes his muzzle as he thinks ," but Mara spits " .
The Remorhaz quickly burrows into the ground, but not before Zanlin is able to put two crossbow bolts into it , but before a huge caterpillar-like creature comes around the bend at the party. Ebon moves for a better shot and fires a bolt of fire at it , not able to penetrate the beast’s hide. Zanlin casts a muddy cloud in front of the beast, hoping to confuse it, only time will tell.
Helm as Direwolf lopes forward and attacks the beast , barely nipping it, and quickly moves back to cover, right into the space where the remorhaz explodes from the earth. Mara , holding her attacks fro just such a strategy, slices the beast before it can gobble her or Helm whole. Unfortunately, as each of Mara’s attacks hit the beast, her swords heat up and burns her arm. AS she winces in pain, she is double thinking attacking this breast at all, and barely dodges the beasts attack at her.
The centipede like beast , not affected by Zanlin’s attempt to confuse it, spits lightning at Ebon. As the lightning rips through Ebon, Zanlin , using his inspiring words, helps Ebon not take the full brunt. Seeing Ebon as a smoking hulk and not able to squeeze through the pens to get to him, moves forward and helps the Remohaz sandwich helm and Mara between them. Mara , seeing the danger, takes on the role that Trageon left a void in and yells , " Come on !, you want some?! " as she attacks the new threat. Damaging it enough to make it take notice of her.
Ebon moves forward , sends necrotic energy at the beast , and then steps into a magical mist to separate him from danger. Just in time as a ball of fire explodes where he was , brings a cry of pain from the beast. Direwolf , that is Helm , attacks the caterpillar beast and knocks it prone. That is not enough to protect Mara as the Remorhaz bites her in an attempt to swallow her.
The Behir ( caterpillar type creature ) bites the Direwolf and also swirls its body around Direwolf in hopes of squeezing him to death. The bite was so lethal that Helm is forced from his direwolf form and finds his humanoid form constricted by the beast.
Mara , stuck in the maw of the Remorhaz , tries to make the beast let her go by using her swords on its innards. Ebon fires again at the Behir, missing horribly. Hunkering down to stay out of danger he wonders if he should just cut bait and leave.
Zanlin continues to hide on the top of a set of cages , and sends three bolts of magical energy into the Behir. Helm continues to struggle against the Behir.
After the menacing attack on its innards by Mara , the Remorhaz spits her out and attacks her trying to squish her, but she quickly blocks its head to the side, in time to see the Behir swallow Helm. With a jealous look in her eye , and a hysterical lilt in her voice, yells, " Nooo!!!! I am the only one that swallows Helm!! " . She then attacks , stabbing herself in the thigh in her rage , but connecting solidly on the Behir.
Deciding to stay and fight with his friends, Ebon’s firebolt finally lands and ends the Behir’s life. Saving his friend’s in the process.
As Helm is expunged from the belly of the Behir, the Remorhaz immediately bites him, trying to swallow the creamy treat. Mara, still enraged that something is trying to swallow Helm , attacks the Remorhaz. Doing minimal damage. Ebon’s luck doesn’t hold and his next firebolt blasts into the dirt in front of the Remorhaz.
Jabber Jaws was sung by many
Zanlin, seeing the situation becoming critical, pulls his last resort option… the wand of wonder. Zanlin peeks over the edge of the pen he is hiding on and points at the beast as he commands the wand. Magical energy jumps from the wand slamming into the Remorhaz. Zanlin and the others watch in horror as the Remorhaz doubles in size. Now encompassing a large portion of the Zoo itself. Effectively stopping any chance of breaking free that Helm has. AS Helm struggles, the gargantuan beast swallows Helm down into its gullet. Zanlin wonders if he would have been swallowed if he hadn’t made it grow.
Mara continues her assault on the Remorhaz, ignoring the burning pain running up her arms trying to save Helm. Ebon, finally connecting with the beast, fire bursting around it and it is engulfed in a larger ball of fire that destroys it. As it dies , it slowly shrinks back to its normal size. Helm slowly pulls himself out of burnt husk , looking much worse for wear.
A ghost knocks over the small christmas tree in the hallway. Breaking many mickey mouse ornaments.
Seeing the Remorhaz fall, Ebon rushes forward to help Helm, casting his small healing spell. Zanlin climbs down and also casts healing on Helm. While Zanlin does that, Helm asks Ebon to check out the bracelets found on the beasts. They appear to be bands with the ability to charm monsters, though they don’t appear to be active at the moment. Mara searches the area as Helm puts the bracelets in his pack.
The party heals themselves as Mara tells us the window in the building they were trying to get into has a metal sheet covering it now. The booming voice comes back taunting the party , " now you see my power, imposters. Now come back next month when we are open, and you can keep the bands you stole. " Zanlin, infuriated , viciously mocks the voice again while Mara asks if she can have free tickets.
" we have to try to bash the door in guys, " Ebon says, " I can’t pick the lock. Helm and Mara try throwing themselves into the door, hoping to knock it off it’s hinges. To no avail. " What are you doing , " booms the voice. " Get off of my property."
The group keeps trading quips back and forth. Zanlin continues to try to mock the voice in hopes of causing the speaker pain.
For now, not being able to get into the building where they believe the voice is originating, decide to check out the zoo to see what additional monstrosities it holds. Entering one large building the see a smoke mephit, an owlbear, an orc zombie ( with no band ) , troglodytes ( no bands ) that have been severely treated, and a grell. Most wearing bands.
Deciding to leave the menagerie be for now, the party continues to investigate the buildings in the zoo. Investigating a storage building that holds poor quality supplies. Zanlin continues to mock the voice, " just more strikes against you. We will have you closed down before you even open." The voices taunts back " are you just going to go building by building ? ".
AS they continue along, they see some more mundane cats like the lions. Pairs of Panthers, cheetahs and tigers all held cells across from the Remorhaz and Behir. Helm continues to go back and forth feeding the animals , even with the poor quality rations. Quantity is better than quality when quality doesn’t exist, he muses.
Helm pacifies the Cats to help them out, as Mara dreams of cheetah print panties.
“Don’t feed the animals” , yells the voice. " haven’t you read the signs? "
The party ignores the taunting and continues searching, finding an office and other buildings of little import. Among the papers in the office , Helm finds bills of sale for the exotic animals from someone named Mourn.
The party finds a human male in one cage , butt naked and growling. Refusing to answer, the human flings poo at Zanlin. The party leaves him in the cage and focuses their attention on a Pegasus in the next pen. Helm befriends it with some grain and whispering words of encouragement into its ears. Helm and Zanlin try to take the band from around its leg. Successful, they add the band to Helm’s backpack.
A Tyrannosaurus Rex fills a cell, but it’s band glows so the party steers clear , to check on the last pen. Inside they find hippo’s and rhinos.
" well , now that you have checked everything out… do you think I will make money?" and chuckles. The voice continues to explain how badly he has treated the animals, exotic and mundane alike. Zanlin gives the voice two minutes to come out and talk to us, and starts counting down.
The door unlatches as the party readies for attack. As an iron robotic creature steps into the open air, ebon hits it with a firebolt, Helm fires a lightening bolt through it and Mara shoots it with a bow. It continues to come forward and Zanlin shoots it also. After clearing room , another creature comes out through the door, looking a little scorched form Helm’s lightening bolt. Another metal figure comes out and climbs up the building.
Helm lashes out with a thorn whip , not even scratching the metal behemoth and quickly moves away. Ebon moves further away and creates a magical hand in front of the metal behemoth on the roof that shoves the creature off the building, giving Mara and Zanlin time to prepare. While the fall does little damage to the creature , it knocks it prone.
Taking advantage of the opening that Ebon provided, he throws arcane energy into a powerful blast that seems to shatter against the creatures. Causing a good amount of damage. He then climbs/jumps off the back of the building into cover and hopefully safety.
Mara, taking the fight to the creatures, drops her crossbow and then runs , drawing her swords , and leaps off the building to attack the prone monstrosity. Landing precisely , she damages the foe in a brilliant display of swordsmanship and a dashing display of acrobatics. The Creature stands up and swings at Mara with its fists, missing her agile dodges, and then a burst a flame wreaths its form. The other metal creature moves into the fray as fire wreaths its body as well but misses Mara also. So far she has been able to nimbly avoid all damage.
The clay beast charges forward at Helm to get in range to be able to bash him. Helm lashes out with his thorn whip , doing no damage and quickly moves away from the beast. Playing a game of cat and mouse.
Ebon double wallops the beast he shoved off the roof with a firebolt from one hand and uses his arcane hand to bash the beast. Zanlin moves from around the back of the building and pulls out his wand of wonder for the second time , causing grass to grow up to three feet in a 60 foot radius. Encompassing the Zoo. The overgrown foliage making movement difficult. Mara ignores the obstacle and continues her assault. Ignoring the flames that shoot up her arms and singe her hair.
The beasts, not having any other targets, try to bash Mara. Only succeeding in one glancing blow. The clay beast can’t reach helm so moves into the fray with Mara, taking her unaware and slipping several attacks past her defenses.
Helm shifts to line up the beasts and throws a lightning bolt, trying to save Mara’s life. Ebon lashes out with a firebolt again, doing damage and then tries to shove one of the creatures out of the way so Mara can try to escape, unfortunately, the beast holds its ground and mara is still trapped.
Zanlin continues to use the wand of wonder, hoping to get a miracle to save Mara. Magic engulfs the area and the creatures seem to slow down. Mara , trying to take advantage of the situation , unleashes her fury on the clay beast. While her attacks lack their normal luster, she does manage to blast the clay beast to smithereens. Mara, seeing an opening, charges across the clay residue and escapes around the building. The beasts too slow to react.
One of the fire wreathed beasts follows Mara. Keeping up but unable to attack. Helm steps out from behind the building to hit the beast with another lightening bolt , then engaging into melee to help Mara. The other beast moves the opposite way and reaches Zanlin. Ebon immediately hits the beast with a firebolt from the safety of distance and then his magical hand shoves the beast 30 feet away from Zanlin, who immediately hits it with a cone of cold. Damaging and freezing it. Taking it out of the fight.
Mara runs from the melee knowing the beast can’t react to her fast movement and drinks a potion to heal herself. Helm , standing toe to toe with the last monstrosity, lashes out with his thorn whip , wrapped around the beasts neck , Helm is able to pop the beasts head form its shoulders, finishing it off even as fire licked up his arm.
The immediate battle over, the voice booms, " I am out of tricks. " Helm speaks with the voice, trying to negotiate buying the zoo from him. After much investigation , the party was able to find shady dealings about the land the zoo was built on. Using that , Helm was able to garner a deal for 5k gold , paperwork goes away , and he ahs to take the poo flinging , naked guy .
Deal done. The voice meets us out front to seal it. The man’s name is Timis. The man also used a stone of sending to create the booming voice. After another small negotiation , Helm pays 5.5k for the zoo and the stone. They send Mara after the gold.
A deal is struck and a new business venture is gained.