The PUSHNER FAMILY are seeking RELIABLE ADVENTURERS OF GOOD CHARACTER to form an ESCORT COMPANY on a return journey to CAUL.
Applicants are to meet tomorrow morning at the sign of the Enervated Gosling on Joward Street. A reward of 27 Riel, with possible bonus, is offered.
NB: Applicants must be willing to work with children.
The party meet Eliza Pushner, a wealthy merchant, who wants them to accompany her 12-yr-old son Vinny to Caul so that he can see a concert by the latest musical sensation, BUSTER. She offers them 27 Riel for bringing him back safely, and a further 27 Riel for bringing him back happy. The party collect Vinny from his somewhat mean friends, and get him safely to Caul across stepping stones, through avalanches and past avaricious fake guards on the gates of Caul. In one surprisingly violent village, they gather to watch Simon's skeleton leave his body overnight and attempt to leave a cage he has made for it. Bobby pulls off its arm, but puts it back under Walker's watchful eye (and Vinny's fascinated one). They attend BUSTER's concert. Having gauged the desirability of BUSTER merchandise, Walker purchases 100 Riel of branded goods at the interval, with Simon agreeing to help augment them with BUSTER's signature later. However, the second half doesn't even start before BUSTER is kidnapped by some curiously augmented people who seem to be wearing mechanical gauntlets/back braces etc. Having captured two of these, the party sets one free with a tracking glyph on her clothing, and questions the other one. They learn that BUSTER is being taken back to their home village of Teal Peaks, deep in the Blue Mountains, because he 'stole' their god's sacred amulet and is perverting it to make rap music. They let their captive go, but Walker takes a short trip to the city guard to a) tell them about the rap-artist-kidnapping suspect currently on the loose, and b) complain about the bandits masquerading as guards at the city gates and insist on reimbursement of the 18 Riel it cost them to get in.
They follow the trail to Teal Peaks, murdering flux zombie harpies and giant mosquitoes as they go, and find two disgruntled ex-inhabitants of the village: one locked in a cell in the village's mine for dissent, and one former priest of the village's god, Aldre the Endless, who says that the god's true message is the rhythm of all things, life and nature and rocks and anything with a beat - not the mechanised hellscape that the current high priest has succeeded in turning the town towards. Luckily, they get to the town square in time to save BUSTER from death by crushing in cogwheels, and the corrupted high priest mysteriously dies amidst the commotion. They give the amulet back to the not-evil priest, and convince BUSTER to stay in the village and maybe become a priest himself so that he understands rhythm well enough to be able to rap again.
Before leaving the village, they get BUSTER to sign the concert poster which they picked up for Vinny in Caul. He does this, with a dedication thanking Vinny for saving his life. Vinny is appropriately happy although possibly still slightly traumatised from having to hold BUSTER's guts in shortly beforehand.
On the way back to Acryn, Bobby chooses to let Simon's skeleton out of its cage on the first night where she's on the first watch. It leaves the cage, takes the shard knife which Simon acquired from the Ivory Prince, and sets off to take it back to the necropolis. Bobby follows, running behind it for several hours (having no choice, once she's in flux) until it has to stop, not having reached its destination, and turn back to rejoin Simon's flesh before sunrise. Before turning round, it leaves the knife under a rock. Bobby picks the knife up, and runs all the way back after the skeleton as well. The rest of the party, waking up, are somewhat disbelieving of her claims that it escaped and she was chasing after it. Bobby throws the knife at Simon and he collapses, bleeding out, until he is healed. This doesn't make the party any more impressed with Bobby. Simon explains the rules of the knife and Bobby is annoyed to realise that indeed she can no longer pick up the knife. The party discuss murderous skeleton curses for a while in front of Vinny.
The party return to Acryn. Vinny tells his mother ALL ABOUT THE ADVENTURE, particularly the nearly-dying and guts-holding-in bits. She is very concerned by this. But the party explain themselves, and are paid 54 riel each.
Gramps offers martial arts (flail) training to Vinny, but his mother insists on watching. Lessons are cancelled after the first go…
A week later, Walker's parcel arrives at the Wayfinders' Guild. A few posters are a bit water damaged from rain on their travels, but most is ok, and the t-shirts and hats have suffered no damage. Simon plans to copy BUSTER's autograph onto all the merchandise as well as animating Vinny's poster to make him happy. Vinny goes to watch the animation magic, but Walker takes Vinny to see the dangerous animals at the college of the stars while Simon copies the signatures. Success! Then he animates the poster for Vinny to make the head bob and mouth 'butts'. Or 'BUSTER.' You can't really be sure unless you know the lyrics.
Walker and Simon split the merchandise between themselves, and put it up for sale in their shops. They sell it while BUSTER is still popular, seeing as he is now hiding out in a village and Acryn forgets crazes quickly. In the first week, they make 90R each from this merchandise. They each have an equivalent quantity left, which is now worth 30R to cash in in a later adventure adventure, or trade later if they so wish in an adventure… (or sell for the full 90R again, if they bring BUSTER fever back…)