Harvest Moon Mayhem

3,377 Necrologion 17
Dear mom,

After we rescued the captives that had disappeared from Neolantika, a finely attired messenger arrived at the Sward & Board, and approached us as we were enjoying an evening at the tavern.

He informed us that the Lord Mayor Niko of Neolantika had invited us to be guests of honour for the Festival of the Harvest Moon on the 15th of Necrologion, in recognition of our deeds saving citizens of Neolantika, which apparently included the mayor's niece!

So on the 15th of Necrologion, Belisarius and I gathered in the Agora, eager to see what competitions awaited us in the Harvest Moon festival.

After Thea, the priestess of Karametra gave a prolonged speech, we headed to the games. The arena was packed and the line was long, but people made way for us as it was clear that we were there to compete.

The first event was the javelin toss, which I won handily for the glory of Heliod.

Then the manager of the games summoned us and demanded we pay 25 gold coins each as an entrance fee. I objected, making it clear that we were the Lord Mayor's honoured guests, but before I could continue making our case, Belisarius paid the swindler.

Before the next event took place, we made our way to the Lord Mayor's box and explained the situation, after which he approved our participation in the games.

The next event was the discus toss. It was not my strongest event, and I was disappointed in my performance, but I won anyway.

While we were waiting for the next event, we heard that something dire had afflicted one of the beauty pageant contestants, so we went to investigate. We found that one of them, Hermina, had sprouted warts all over her face. After a brief interrogation and inspection of the premises, we concluded that the lavender beauty powder she had been using had been tampered with, and was the cause of this magical affliction.

I called out into the audience for a healer, or a sage that might know of an antidote. As luck would have it, our friend Pontreus, the triton priest, was in the audience and agreed to heal Hermina. A sage from the audience, Kalomira, also introduced herself, claiming that she had witnessed the affair and thought at least one of the other contestants reacted in an incriminating way.

We searched the rooms of all the contestants, and gathered their beauty products together to inspect. Belisarius determined that only Hermina's facial powder emanated any magic. Using the pearl I had borrowed from Nox, Kalomira was able to Identify the powder's magical properties, and when she described them, Pontreus suggested that the concoction was often used by the followers of Pharika, the God of Afflictions.

After the contestants had returned to their rooms, we returned the products, hoping to question them. Only one of them allowed us in, a red head with a button nose named Kira, who smelled strongly of lavender. She seemed distressed about the mischief, but shared that Niko was going to pick her because of her hair. I detected that the strong scent of lavender was coming from her shampoo. Testing a sample of it on my wrist, I could feel it burn slightly. I showed it to Belisarius, who confirmed that it also emanated magic. Kalomira was able to Identify that the magical effects in the shampoo would cause hair loss. We warned Kira about the shampoo and Kalomira told all the contestants not to use anything they didn't bring themselves and were sure had not been tampered with.

While Pontreus continued with the healing procedure, we left Kalomira to keep an eye out, so Belisarius and I could return to the games. The last event of the day was a foot race. I'm proud to say I came in second place, as my companion won the race, though he paid a heavy price, and was gasping and sore well into the following day. As you know, running has never been my forte.

Later, we met up with Kalomira and I asked her if she would Identify some items for us. As a test, she confirmed that the vial of red fluid I found in the Moontemple was a potion of healing. When I showed her the glass eye I retained from the ruins where we rescued the captives, she explained that it was not magical, but was a component required for some magical spells. I shared with her what we had discovered about the captives, and their magical abilities, warning her to be wary. It occurred to me that we had not seen Hylas in some time. I hope she has not been kidnapped!

The next morning, as Belisarius and I were eagerly heading to the wrestling competition, we learned that another of the contestants was found dead in the inn where the contestants were staying, The Captain's Pearl. Since she was already dead, we agreed to leave Kalomira to investigate the scene, while we sought glory at the games.

My wrestling competitor was fierce, but once I saw that Belisarius had lost, I was inspired to give the match everything I had, and soon tossed my foe out of bounds at the feet of the Lord Mayor.

When we returned, Kalomira explained that the dead contestant, Isadora, had died of a magical affliction that caused acid to leak from her eyes and nails.

Meanwhile, another contestant, Adelia, a blond with squinty eyes, had looked into her mirror and scares suddenly appeared all over her face. Kalomira confirmed that the mirror had also been magically affected. Adelia said the mirror wasn't hers and that she had found it in her room and assumed it was something all contestants were given. At least this was an affliction I was able to remedy.

Searching around, and interrogating everyone we could, we learned that two of the contestants, twin sisters named Junia and Elmina, had practiced magic. We also learned that the mother of another contestant, Cordelia, had been staying with her. The mother's description matched that of the person Kalomira said she had seen skulking about backstage at the competition the day before. Asking around, we soon found her attending a debate about the most worthy gods--why this is a topic of debate is unclear to me as the answer is as clear as the light of day. We confronted her, asking her to accompany us to the mayor, and she disappeared into thin air. With my Divine Sense I could sense that she was actually some sort of fiend, and I tried to blast her with a Guiding Bolt, but I was too afraid of accidentally hitting one of the patrons of the event.

We explained the situation to the mayor, but unfortunately, we had no evidence to support our case.

On the bright side, I was proclaimed the winner of the games!

Your son in search of glory,

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