Lack Of Initiative

Act 2: Misappropriating a Mermaid

The next morning, the party head back to the Clockwork Carnival in order to see some of the other attractions and, particularly, to investigate the mermaid act at the slideshow. Given the dubious nature of the other two sideshow acts they’ve seen so far, the party is not especially hopeful they will find a real mermaid, but they want to check nonetheless.

A goblin barker ushers them into the sideshow tent and cautions them against trying to touch the mermaid as “she bites.” The tent contains a grimy-looking tank full of water, and the party can see something sitting against the far wall of the tank. Topiary takes a closer look and realizes that what they’re seeing is, in fact, a real mermaid.

The party strike up a conversation with the mermaid, who says her name is Ivia. She was caught in a fisherman’s net a few years ago and subsequently sold to Gazimoff, the owner of the carnival. When the party ask whether they can have a few of Ivia’s scales, she says she will give them whatever they want if they help her escape from the carnival. The river is not far from the carnival’s rear exit, if they can get her that far without being stopped.

Deciding first to appeal to Gazimoff (or perhaps threaten him again), the party leave the carnival and return to the gnome’s cottage in the River District. Gazimoff is not home, however, having left his housekeeper to clean up the rat gore left over from the party’s fight two days ago. The housekeeper explains that Gazimoff will be out of town for a few days while she completes the cleanup.

Realizing they are going to have to break out Ivia rather than negotiate her release, the party head to Fantasy Costco to stock up on supplies. While there, Aribi convinces Garfield the Deals Warlock to contact her if he gets in any of the ingredients they are looking for. Pamplemousse is also, again, successfully dissuaded from applying for a Fantasy Costco credit card.

The party return to Ivia’s tent. The goblin barker is beginning to seem suspicious of the time they are spending there, and so Aribi invents a distraction, pretending to pull Topiary behind the tent for a make-out session. When the goblin realizes he’s being creepy and turns away, the party sneak into the back of Ivia’s tent.

After a very long discussion of how exactly to get Ivia from the tent down to the river, the party finally decide on a plan. Pamplemousse casts a spell that creates an illusory copy of Ivia which will swim around somewhat convincingly in the tank. They wrap up Ivia’s fins in some fancy cloth that Pamplemousse bought from Dorian, and put Pamplemousse’s hat on Ivia’s head to cover the rest of her fins. Unruhk picks up Ivia by wrapping an arm under hers to give the appearance that she could be walking – albeit kind of strangely – on her own. When Ivia expresses her desire for vengeance, Unruhk also arms her with one of his axes.

Topiary, Pamplemousse, and Aribi lead the way toward the rear exit of the carnival. Fortunately, they do not encounter anyone else except for two half-ogre guards who are stationed at the exit. Aribi gives a particularly compelling performance and manages to distract both guards as Unruhk slips past them and gets Ivia safely to the river. Though the party only need 3 scales from Ivia’s tail, Aribi asks for 6 and Ivia happily obliges.

After parting ways with the mermaid, the party travel to Caeion’s Curiosities, a shop near the House of Knowledge. Topiary knows that Caeion can be hired to track down very rare magical items and ingredients – for a lofty price. Though Caeion is away on such a mission when they stop by the shop, the party speak to his assistant and make an appointment to see Caeion in two weeks.

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