The night was not over. Drunk as they were, Aleera and Kaladrax wandered away from the Oasis after they heard the attendants talking about a snake woman that cured the plague of ash healing the settlers of the Oasis. They were speculating about who she was and why she had chosen certain people to cure and not others. The man who was preaching about her kindness had only said that it was very taxing on the woman and seemed to sap her strength.
Not wanting to be associated with this snake woman, who they knew was Kariss, they slunk off weaving drunkenly. When the walking got tough Kaladrax meandered forward on Aleera’s broom as she floated, with no apparent help, at his side. They flew through the clear desert sky towards the roost where the Aarakocra lived. There, they drunkenly called out for Ara, wanting her to come out and play.
Ara came out slowly from her hanging hut amongst the trees and the old Aarakocra priest came out from his hut on the floor in front of the temple to Aero. Ara was rubbing her eyes as it was very late at night when they came calling. Aleera and Kaladrax spent a few minutes talking to Ara and making sure she was okay in their own drunken way.
Once they had checked up on Ara sufficiently they began to feel drowsy. The little bird girl got some beds together for them, made of their Aarakocra down, and helped settle them down for the night. Aleera instructed her sprite to watch over them for the night and zonked out. Kaladrax was already snoring by this time. The night was quiet. There were no disturbances in the air and everyone slept in peace.
The blazing hot morning sun awoke Aleera and Kaladrax as the mountain was flooded with light. Ara and the old bird priest came out of their huts looking well rested and slightly amused. Aleera’s head was bursting and Kaladrax was even worse off. The sun seared itself in his eyes and brain. He was in the fetal position covering his eyes with his robes. Aleera was more used to hangovers than he, so she used her Lesser Restoration Spell to reduce his pain and ease the hangover.
With him a little more recovered, they set off, saying goodbye to Ara and the old priest as they left. They waved their final goodbyes and held hands as they prepared to leave. They flew to the Oasis to fill the empty bottles they now had and then held hands to teleport away. Kaladrax was recovered enough that he could cast the spell. They faded from existence as Kaladrax focused on the outside of the walls of Drakenforge.
This was only his second time casting the new spell and while his intention was to teleport to a secluded spot right outside the Drakenforge walls, they ended up on the wrong end of the walls. They were inside, with no collars, and no idea where their friends were. That’s when Aleera remembered her earring device that allowed them all to communicate as long as they were within range.
They walked around the city, sticking to the shadows, avoiding people and calling out for their friends over the earrings every now and then. Finally, after hours of walking around aimlessly, they heard a reply. It turned out that they had met an artisan for the dwarven lands that was willing to house them for the moment and help for a price. They arrived at the small store/home of the helpful dwarf and scurried inside. They spent the rest of the day talking about what had happened to each group.
Aleera told them the amusing story of how they got the water from the Oasis and Hepolita described how it had gone coming into the city. It had been fairly easy as they all had their collars and were paid no mind by other dwarves. As they had walked the city, they had encountered other, non dwarven species, that were also wearing collars as they shopped and traded within the city walls. No one seemed to mind wearing the slave collars, they trusted the word of the dwarves that they would be removed upon leaving the city.
They had found this workshop after finding many others that were way too expensive. This craftsman was good but in his old age had not been able to gather as many materials to make goods. He relied on sporadic shipments for his wares and had little in his store. Before they knew what was going on, Hepolita had made a sizable investment into the workshop asking that he make things for them as they needed and with a discount for this advance in funds. The money would allow him to be able to pay for supplies and make more goods to sell.
He was grateful and offered to show them to their rooms which were small by nature but would fit them all just barely. The two groups come together as one again were so tired from their recent adventures that they wanted nothing more than to sleep once more. As the evening wore on the group got ready for bed.
Hepolita drew in her makeshift notebook while Kariss communed with Kess. Aleera wrote some new music to accompany her dancing and meditated. Kaladrax wrote in his report book, where he wrote back to the college about all the new magical encounters he had. Right before bed, Aleera and Kaladrax played a quick game of dragon chess. Surprising everyone, she won against Kaladrax who had been playing since childhood. This had only been her second time playing.
They went to bed wondering how they would nullify the slave collars while still being allowed within the walls. They had to figure out how to fool the city into thinking they were under control when they were free and able to cast what they wanted. Despite the cramped space and the pending issue of the collars, the party slept well as the familiars kept watch and the night crept over the land towards daylight.