Market Street was quiet. A feint cloud of snow from the road blew by the entrance of the Rusty Dragon. In the front window of the building, a sign written in common, and varisian read “Under new management.” Arcs of purple lightning suddenly appeared in front of the building and with a blinding flash, Coira appeared and looked around. “Ew…” With a look of disdain, the changeling took in the ‘sights’ of this rustic small town out on the fringe. The sky was overcast, old buildings creaked under the weight of snow and ice, and not a soul was to be seen. Not wanting to tolerate another moment of the winter chill, Coira headed through the double doors of the inn. The interior was warm and bright. The windows brought in natural light while candles supplemented the darker corners of the main lobby. From the back, a feint old voice called out “Be with you in just a moment!”

Not wanting to be left in the door, Coira scraped her boots off on the rug and used a cantrip to dry out the rest of her outfit. The bar was well kept. Only the slightest of dings interrupted the surface of the wood. Coira took a seat on the far right, preferring to have a stepping point to move from the bar if needed. After another moment, an elderly halfling spun out through the back door into the lobby. She had a loving smile and tired eyes. “Oh… whats a pretty young lady like you doing all the way out here? Most folk stay away from Varisia let alone Sandpoint in the winter deary.” Coira’s mood instantly improved with the flattery. “Oh I’m looking for someone. I was told this place was the only place he could be found.” Bethana nodded as she set a cup of tea on the bar with sugar and cinnamon. “Many folk come through here. If I can help, I will. Who would you be looking for?” The Changeling took in the lovely aroma of the tea and gently stirred it with the cinnamon sick. “Some friends of yours, Anda, Sylri, and the rest of their comrades told me I could find Shantor here.” Bethana opened her eyes a little wider and checked the inn for any stragglers. “We can, yes… but we must do so in secret.” As Coira finished her tea, she left a silver on the table. Bethana closed and locked the front doors of the Rusty Dragon. And when the building was secure, she pulled away the rug at the front door revealing the magic sign.

Coira coughed slightly when she saw the sign under the rug. She thought to herself, What kind of moron would hide a summoning sigil in a bar?! Checking the symbol, Coira determined the activation was to simply make contact with the rune and speak the creators name. Placing her hand on the sign, Coira spoke, “Shantor, I must speak with you.” The only sign of acknowledgement she got was the soft puff of air that passed her from behind. Not even a second later, a calm masculine voice broke the silence. “I do not know you, Changeling. Identify yourself.” Coira froze momentarily as the voice caused her a slight shock. WIth a spin, she got back into a more defensible stance.

Standing opposite each other, the two spellcasters sized each other up. Coira knew something was wrong. She had fought a dragon before, but this one was far more powerful. Even in his elvish disguise, the amount of arcane energy he emitted was nearly enough to blur the Changelings vision. “I am Coira. I was asked to speak with you on behalf of Anda, Sylri, and company.” Shantor continued his stare. It was as if he was seeing through Coira. Surveying the situation, Shantor noticed the halfing to the side of the Changeling. She showed no signs of harm or magical influence, but the Changeling herself had several magical effects on her. A permanent divination spell, most likely a communication effect or some kind of clairvoyance. A transmutation effect on her garb, something to aid in diplomacy. But most of all, he noticed her body language. She was poised to defend herself. Her expression was a combination of disbelief and distrust. “You have my attention, sorceress.” he declared in a neutral tone.

Coira knew deep down that she was cornered. Her every sense was to get away from the locked doors and Bethana to better position herself. Despite her instincts, she chose to relax. With an air of concern, she said “The team you are associated with needs help. The city of Absolom is under the influence of a magical weather effect. We believe it has something to do with a cult serving someone called The King in Yellow.” Shantor took a step back and looked up past the two mortals, his vision seeming to pierce the walls of the inn. With a simple scrying spell, he looked far beyond. He saw it, the cloud of freezing rain over the city. “A simple alter weather effect. It should dissipate within a few days.” Coira stuttered with a confused expression replied, “yes, but we were hoping to gain your assistance in dispeling the effect.” Shantor ended his spell and looked back down at the Changeling. “Unnecessary. If Anda and company are as capable as I believe, they will resolve the weather situation.” Coira began to glare at the dragon. “And if they are not as capable as you believe?” Noticing the change in attitude, the disguised dragon replied, “Than they will most likely be defeated or die. As for this King in Yellow, I know of no such being by that title, but I do have a suspicion as to who would use that moniker.” Shantor turned to the side and began contemplating all manner of beings that could be involved and possible outcomes of an encounter with this cult.

Coira stood in absolute confusion. “Wait, do you not care what happens to them? Or the city?” Shantor continued to contemplate as he replied, “No, I do not.”  Coira looks on in disgust. “Are all dragons as insufferable as you, or is it possible that you make the rest Ive encountered seem normal?” Shantor stopped a moment and turned to face the sorceress again. “And just what do you think you know about dragons, Changeling?” Coira returned his glare from her shorter perspective. “I know enough. I fought and killed Ulgrath the Vicious and survived Tyranus. Compared to you, Ulgrath had a passion for something, and Tyranus actually was willing to utilize his power… you just stand around and lord over the room with a ‘superior to thou’ attitude. And if you ever call me changeling again, I will not stop fighting you until I pull one of your eyes from its socket.” Shantor, upon hearing this stopped a moment and realized something. “Are you from Vona, Coira?”

The tension in the room suddenly vanished. Coira stopped and looked up again at Shantor, “Yes, I am. I was born there.” Bethana then took the two by the hands and gave a gentle tug. “Oh good, you’ve found something in common! Now lets sit down and have a nice hot tea. Ill bring out some rolls too.” After the mood changed back to a friendly discussion, Shantor finished his one roll and then spoke. “I would like to offer a trade. Your information on Vona and your time here on Golarion in exchange for my services for dispeling the weather over Absolom.”Coira, sitting behind the large basket of rolls she left for her replied, “Dispel the weather first and you have a deal.” Bethana looked up over the edge of the table and noticed Coira had not touched a single roll. “Eat up deary! You are skiny as a rail.”

Author Vendon
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Game: Pathfinder
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