Blair K Brown is a video game producer and musician.

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The Rise of Baa Episode 3: A lonely tavern

Our adventures made good on their getaway from Tarrenfall.  Ilsa, now holding the strange magical device, takes the lead as it pulls them northward.  Ron and The Wizard Formerly Known as Tuna try to our sing each other, the Wizard thinking he is a match for the bard.  And pulling up the rear, keeping to himself, Humph.

After two days of uneventful travel as dusk takes the land and a low fog rolls in, they see a dim light ahead, "a tavern?" the party ask, although no one remembers one in this part of the region before.  They're all experienced travelers and would have known about such a place.  There are noises and musical sounds coming from within, Humph runs to the front "Ale!" and bursts through the door.

He is immediately met with silence as all the patrons turn to look at him.  The rest of the gang pile up behind him, just through the door.  Humph nods to everyone, and as he does they all return to their conversations, singing and drinking.  Everyone inside is beautiful, happy, the music is the best the party has ever heard.  Humph orders an Ale and drinks it, its his favorite, Mountain Stout, how could they have that out here?

The all gather around a table and sit in, the barkeep Morg comes over and offers them food and more drink.  Ilsa feels uncomfortable, something isn't right in this place.  But before she can say anything, Ron and The Wizard are up at the front of the stage, dancing and singing along.  Humph looks 10 beers in already, a rare smile across his face.  Ilsa spots an odd women sitting alone in the corner staring at her, she walks over.

"Something isn't right, is it?" Ilsa asks the women.  "Honey, nothing ever feels right in this place" she replies.  Ilsa sits down and starts to talk to the women.  A while ago, although she can't remember exactly when, she was an adventurer, just like Ilsa.  Even made it to the Underdark once, although she was lucky to escape, only made it out with a necklace.  Ilsa notices a large ruby necklace that the women is wearing.  As she continues her story, Ilsa feels someone is watching her.  Her Paladin sense's are tingling, there is evil here.  She turns around, and locks eyes with a man, normal, boring, forgettable.  But something is wrong.

Suddenly he isn't a man anymore, Ilsa can see his true form, a Demon! "You!" she screams. The demon, unaware that he can be seen as who he really is, is startled.  Ilsa, now ignoring the women, walks over.  "You are not of this place."  The Demon responds in Abyssal, "Hardly, although I am the reason for it, you should join me, a Tiefling paladin, we would make a great pair tormenting these people for another 200 years."  

Ilsa (rolling really good) intimidates the Demon. "Who are you, truly, reveal yourself!" And so he must. "I am Drez-Urb'luu, cousin to Fraz-Urb'luu, a Demon lord of the Underdark!" and the spell of the tavern is broken.  The Wizard Formally Known as Tuna and Ron stop holding hands and singing, looking at each other confused.  Humph spits out the now disgusting moldy old Ale and looks over to see a tavern full of corpses and a large Demon standing next to Ilsa.

Time to roll initiative! The battle is long and hard fought.  With Drez even summoning some backup from the Abyss.  Enraged and full of righteous glory Ilsa lands a crushing blow! Drez is the cousin of Fraz, who corrupted her temple and turned the order against her!  She kicks him backwards over the bar, as he falls Drez calls forth a portal and disappears into it, screaming back at them in Abyssal "This is far from over! My cousin will hear of this! He's going to be so mad at you!".

A deafing silence hits the party as the portal closes.  The tavern around them starting to crumble as the spell keeping it alive for so long starts to wear off.  200 years of decay in 5 minutes.  The party barley makes it outside before it all collapses.

The Wizard Formally Known as Tuna turns to Ilsa, "Is there anything you want to tell us?" and they make a fire and spend the night in the shadow of the destroyed tavern as Ilsa recalls the tale of her time in the cult of deceivers, Fraz-Urb'luu and her mission to summon and then destroy him forever.

Humph loudly snored the whole time...

Blair Brown