We head to the Chance Family Home to speak of an arranged marriage, but is it a match made in heaven, or harrowing hell?
Kharduum Steepmine (Hill Dwarf Cleric)
Roza Chance (Tiefling Sorcerer)
Koronus (Human Rogue)
Con'nor (Half Elf Paladin)
Violet (High Elf Wizard)
Chai (Goblin Cleric)
Following the letter from Roza's mother, she has asked us to accompany her to her family home to discuss this marriage arrangement. It's also home to the Chance family archive, a vast store of knowledge, much of it pre-abjuration.
I have been researching Zarial and her position in Avernus as much as possible. It seems she's a fallen angel who left Mt. Celestial with a contingent of angelic warriors, she defied her superiors orders to not get involved and ended up fighting in the Blood War, all were killed except for her, completely corrupted she ascended to the position of Lord of Avernus, but the Devil she usurped wants revenge and plans to retake their place, Zarial's sword has celestial power, maybe she needs it to fight off this enemy, unfortunately that's as much as I discovered.
We arrive at the grounds, vast and alive, glorious and beautiful plants and flowers as far as the eye can see.
As we approach the house, we are asked to hand over our weapons, this is a home and special occasion, we all comply, but I suspect Koronus smuggled in a dagger, that man won't be without a blade.
As we step inside we see portraits of the Chance family, there's a wall dedicated to Roza and her siblings, the painting of a handsome chap I assume to be Laurel is positioned most favorably, the hallway is beautiful, thin railings on the stairs, gilded with ornate flowers, there isn't much room to admire this though as we're shepherded into a vast stud, Roza's mother Holly awaits us "I see you've brought guests" as the sofa extends to accommodate us, her smile doesn't reach her eyes. "Laurel is already here, he's very prompt." she snipes.
Holly explains that many years ago, Roza's great grandfather saved a crystal dragon named Obelix from certain death, that he has been a family friend ever since, and she has arranged a marriage to his son, Felix, this way, the Chance family can continue its draconic bloodline, oh, and the wedding is tomorrow, a furious Roza leaves at this, leaving her mother scoffing at the impertinence, with that clanger dropped, Holly leaves us to pick our Jaws up from the floor.
Con'nor has heard of Obelix, he says that he isn't quite an ancient dragon, that years ago dragons were hunted, and he was saved by a family of powerful magic wielders. Roza knows him as a friend of the family, that 50 years ago he had a half elf wife, but didn't like to transform into a humanoid too often.
As we leave the study, we see Roza's father, James, at the top of the stairs, Roza heads up to talk with him, his mannerisms are closed off and he's fidgeting, he says he was told to stay upstairs, he didn't receive Roza's letter, he says that her mother's staff must have not passed it on. James hasn't met Felix, but has heard that he's a lovely boy, and thinks she should go ahead with the marriage. He says he can also get all of her friends from Outpost invited as guests if she'd like. Roza calls this out as a distraction, and it seems like he's a little hurt, we think he's trying his best with a bad situation.
Mr. Chance lets us know that Laurel is in the Library, and that her mother has picked out a Wedding dress, with the ceremony happening at noon, it seems like everything is already in place, much to Roza's chagrin.
We head to the library, it's unlike anything we've ever seen, the aren't accessible bookshelves, but there are these ornate carvings of stems and flowers, Laurel is standing in the centre of the room, he holds his hand out and one of a flower twists into the distance, its long stem arching, it pulls back to him, the flower opening to reveal a book that he plucks from it and casually opens, Roza heads over and he lifts his eyes to her with a smile. They talk sincerely about the betrothal and Roza's feelings, he is concerned that she isn't happy and says he will talk with their Mother about this, he leaves and we're left in the library.
Koronus wants to try this book retrieval system, Roza says you have to reach out with your mind to find what you're looking for, he tries, but is very confused when the flowers bring a children's book.
Con'nor has a go, concentrating so hard he looks like he's going to burst a blood vessel, but he's rewarded with exactly what he's looking for, a book on the Chance family ancestry, he starts looking through and confirms that every three or four generations this union happens within the Chance family. He informs Roza about this to which she responds with a flat tone of 'ah yes thank you very much for informing me of my own family history. As if I didn't know'.
I ask Roza for help finding any info on Avernus and Zarial, she pulls some tomes, but there isn't anything here I haven't seen, she says there might be more info in the hidden archives if we get the chance to visit sometime.
We glance out the window, more and more guests are streaming in.
Koronus has headed out to find Laurel, hoping to eavesdrop, he is talking with Mrs. Chance, trying to talk her down, it appears he's allowed to call her Mum, but even as the clear favourite, he's not getting through to her.
Roza is talking about getting a hold of the letters and breaking into her mother's office for more info, I know that people who tend to go snooping in this house disappear, so that's certainly not my idea of a good time.
Outside we see two wondrous crystal Dragons touch down, looking majestic in the sun, the smaller of the two changes shape into a tan half elf, a clean shaven head and a short but glorious braided beard, this Felix is an incredibly handsome gent.
Roza turns as someone calls her telling her that her guests are arriving, she says she's heading to her room, we should probably give her some space.
I head off to find Laurel, hoping he can help with the hidden archives, while Chai heads off to look for Felix.
Con'nor and Violet run into Isabella Cannith, it's incredibly tense, I imagine all hell would have broken loose had we not been in such an already delicate situation.
I find Laurel, he's charming and eloquent, while I'm my normal stammering and unrefined self, but he's very kind, says that he appreciates everything I've done for Roza, and that he has a gift for me, at that moment a butler appears and hands me a maß, it's filled with Moradin's Divine Stout, a beer brewed in my temple, and something I've not been able to brew without the unique malts my temple produces. He says that the butler will be on hand with a fresh maß for as song as I am here, and he has arranged for a supply of it to the outpost, it's so heavenly I almost forget what I approached him for, but he says that he's more than happy to consult the hidden archives for me, and get everything he can on the former Lord of Avernus and Zarials sword.
Koronus runs into Roza's little sister while snooping around, as she peers around the corner at him, she's quiet and won't talk, he feigns being lost and asks for her help, she disappears for a second around the corner, and reappears, throwing a crumpled piece of paper at him, he straightens it out and sees she's drawn a sketched map back to the ballroom, he feigns ignorance again and asks if she can accompany him as he's scared of getting lost again, she heads back with him to the ballroom, but she won't speak, shaking her no when he asks if she's met Felix.
Chai heads outside to look for Felix, they exchange pleasantries, he's nice and she hands him a flower she picked on the way there, he smiles and takes it. Chai asks if he is in love with the bride, he looks sad and says that he hasn't had the chance to meet her, but this is something he has to do for duty. Chai says that she hopes he finds happiness and casts Guidance.
Most of us reconvene and share what we've learned, Roza has also received a gift, wonderfully wrapped in her childhood bedroom, it's a collapsible staff that gives off a magical aura, it should accentuate her spellcasting.
Chai says that she thinks Felix is sad and that maybe he likes someone else, I ask the Gentleman butler who seems to be always at my side with a fresh maß, what he thinks, but he says he can't answer, I ask if he knows Felix, he does, but says he doesn't have a lover, but he's clearly lying.
We decide to scour the party for the most prodigious gossips, we find Roza's maternal grandmother Moira Droll with some friends, she's chatting away, I lubricate the conversation with some Divine stout, they let slip that Felix was in a relationship with an unknown gentleman until a couple of months ago, when he was made aware of the betrothal.
Roza sneaks off to go to her mother's study, hoping to find out more via her mother's correspondence, Chai helps by casting enhance ability on her. While Con'nor "bumps" in Felix, he talks about the marriage and only really mentions his duty, Con'nor keeps prodding though and touches a nerve, Felix loses his composure, the elven facade fades for a moment and Con'nor sees the dragon fury beneath, he backs off and Felix goes his own way.
Roza has managed to get into her mother's study, she finds the letters she sent, but not much else, Koronus gently enters the room, having followed her, he finds a hidden switch under the desk, the floor opens, revealing a staircase down, but Roza doesn't want to go, Posy appears at the door, shaking her head no.
As everyone meets back in the ballroom, we talk with Roza about Felix, they're going to have to talk prior to the wedding to see where they both stand. It doesn't take long to get them both together, Roza can see that he is miserable and doesn't want to do this, they both agree though that they have little choice, but maybe they can do this on their own terms, and that a little rebellion might do them some good.
Koronus suggests altering the marriage contract to give them their own freedoms, maybe even a chance of annulment later on, should they both decide, I suggest that I can officiate the wedding if we do it this way.
We break off and decide to head to bed, Koronus drawing up a contract that can be fine tuned in the morning with the betrothed couples wishes, and they can sleep on their decision before acting.
Chai heads over to speak to Obelix on the way back, she asks him about the wedding, and happiness, he says he was happy for a time, but this wedding is for the best, he seems very much like his son, talking of duty, and says he will give this some thought, but he's sure it's for the best.
The next morning, deep in the family grounds, the party along with Laurel and Posy, gather for the wedding, Felix and Roza fine tune their marriage agreement and stand before me as I officiate the ceremony, I only know the Dwarven words of my order, but they'll have to do.
We return to the house as the Official ceremony is being set up, most of the guests are present, one thing we didn't discuss is what's happening next, will they go through the motions here to save face, will we speak with Holly first, all of these thought are running through my head when I hear Roza burst out "That's it Mother, we've already done it, on our own terms!" as she waves the contract in the air, so this is the way we're doing it.
We look around at the looks on the guests faces as Holly Chance stares aghast, just as she's about to start talking, the clouds part, lighting strikes, and Balthazar appears before us with a crack! What the f…
And now an excerpt from the diary of Roza Chance:
Was this the right thing to do? Oh hell. I have so many what if's going through my brain right now. I feel so frazzled and confused. I did what I thought was best in the time provided.
Time provided? Isn't that a laugh. I feel so stupid and embarrassed, I feel angry so angry that part of me just wanted to cause hell just because of the absolute unfairness of the whole situation. But then that would be playing into her narrative of me being a useless child that should never have left her shadow.
I love my Family. I was always going to do my duty to the family. I will always try and help my family. I just wanted to see more of the world? Maybe find some lost tomes or some such to give myself my own achievements. But this? A marriage that everyone but me knew the date of? To be embarrassed in front of my new friends? Well she would just reply that for a family conversation they should have been left in the hall.
But thinking on it all now. Writing while getting ready to face my future trying to calm my mind. I can't help but think how this must have seemed to Felix. He's known a lot longer than me for sure some kind of communication would be expected? He must have thought me so rude. I know nothing about him other than that his father is a lovely dragon.
This is absolutely ridiculous. Something must be possible, surely? Something where we both get to make some choices for ourselves? Mother probably wanted to put aside any potential plotting on my end. Well she's well and truly achieved that. I don't want to embarrass my family irreparably. Leaving in a huff would be inexcusable. I have been raised better than that.
What to do? Well first I need to speak with Felix. As I should have many moons ago.
But what upsets me, and I really shouldn't be upset. I must know better by now. Surely.
It all comes down to the fact that Laurel who is lovely and wonderful. Who is the utmost apple in mothers eye. She can never let it pass that I was the only one to show the connection to our Draconic Bloodline. She's always been so bitter about it all. Always harping on about my future and how I couldn't expect to do things others could.
We are all Chance family members. But no one will ever measure up to her desires. No one but Laurel. I do worry for Posy because she is ever so quiet. But one must do what one must for family even as one as manipulative as our mother. Maybe my adventures have dulled my senses to this? I shouldn't have expected anything else.
But I will do what I can to make this as positive as possible. If this does happen I will do what I can to protect my own future and if it includes Felix's? Then yes his as well. This isn't something that's only happening to me.
Life is a very odd bouquet of flowers. I will do my best to protect those dragged into my mother's web.
I will be better. I will do, because I must. I am a Chance. I will never be who my mother has become.