The following day, the party found themselves venturing to the Lazz School of Vivid Unpleasentness, where making the viewer suffer as much as possible seems to be the goal of this particular brand of 'art'. They stood in front of the school, where, in a courtyard, a large, horned fellow was ceremoniously whipping three completely nude men, all laying on the ground, trying their best to lay perfectly still. No words of anger were shared between the whipee and the whipped. It all seemed very scripted.
The group approached the horned figure, hoping to gain access to the school. The thing scoffed at them, as they tried to explain that they wanted to become students at the Lazz School, lying badly about their desire to learn 'anti-art' and so on. Eventually, Lydia stepped forward, handing the horned figure the Multicorder she had discovered a few days back, and displayed the horrors that unfolded when being chased by a multitude of scrubots. Amused by this, the devil kept the Mutlicorder and granted them access.
Stepping inside the school, the party almost instantly regretted it. Acts of unnatural and unnecessary horror were being committed in every class room; the party jumped room to room, hoping for a sign of a portal.
They found one in a classroom that was essentially a giant wading pool, filled with blood of some variety, a number of students standing within the pool, arms slashed so that blood drained from them and into the pool. Shuddering, the party plodded through the pool to a small door on the other side, and crawled though, as soon as the portal shimmered for them with their portal key.
The party found themselves in a rural area, covered in blood, not far from the lights of a nearby village. They had stepped out of a lone outhouse, far out from much of anything else, and assuming that would be their way back, made a mark of it, and went scouting for a nearby stream (no need to ride into town looking like they did, the party thought).
After a quick clean-up, the group headed towards the lights of the town down at the base of the hill. As they approached, they saw most of the lights were torchlights – all held by townsfolk, mostly surrounding one builing. The group approached, and began to ask the locals what was going on.
It was quickly apparent that some kind of hostage situation was occuring; the mayor approached the party on the hopes that they were some kind of travelling adventures (which was certainly true, but, unlikely in a way that the mayor could comprehend). He said that a man calling himself 'The Duke' was inside, threatening to kill the children inside the schoolhouse, if he was not given his demands: 6000 gold pieces, and escort to the edge of the land's borders. There was no such money in this nameless little town on an unnamed rural route. The mayor feared that there the man would grow frustrated soon and begin his awful promise.
The group began to plot; not completely out of altruism, though they were certainly appalled by the situation. Reuel was oftentimes refferred to as 'Duke', and they thought maybe they had their man at last. Someone so desperate to steal portal keys could certainly go so far as this.
A plan of sorts was formed. Nonimus would scout around the back with some of the sneakier of the group, while Sir Honeypot would attempt negotiations at the front door. Nonimus, Savina, Clease and Lydia prowled to the back, while Sir Honeypot, Leahcim and Katerina approached the front.
A few quick raps on the door by Honeypot, and the door half-openned, a goblin-looking fellow standing behind it, crossbow in hand, pointing it toward the huge figure now in the doorway. The goblin asked if they were ready to meet their demands; Honeypot suggested now would be a good time to talk. Around back, Nonimus was creeping forward towards a back hatch, leading towards the schools basement. However, he was uncharacteristically unsneaky this time around, and was spotted by a patrolling goblin around the back – the window the goblin was at lifted, and a number of shots were fired from his crossbow.
All the shots missed, and Nonimus vanished into the shadows. Alarmed, the goblin quickly closed the window, and was heard to yell 'Boss! BOSS!' as he walked away. The prowling group began to sweat.
Out front, things were going a little better. Honeypot was able to relate to a number of the goblins, and a great number of them crowded around the door, listening to the plan Honeypot had – simply walk out now, and they'll escort them to a portal out of the area (which was a bit of an understatement). The goblins were actually pretty keen on this plan, as it was 'The Duke' that bullied them into this idiotic avenue in the first place.
The goblin around back never returned. He was up front, blathering with the other negotiating goblins; Nonimus and Lydia worked the back window, and popped it; a great number of children were inside the room the window led to, and they began escorting the terrified little things out the back and quietly away from the building. Once clear, Savina and Lydia hopped inside, while Nonimus and Clease snuck around to another side, in an attempt to find more.
Through most of the windows, they were lucky, they got in, got out with the kids, and moved on. Most of the goblins were distracted with talking with Honeypot, hoping to come up with something solid that got the kids and them out together. However, at the last window Nonimus was going to slide open, his head popped into sight at the wrong moment, and he saw, finally who 'The Duke' was.
A massive bull-man stood in the room, staring at the sneak at his window. Nonimus managed to sneak out an 'uh oh' before the bull's hand slammed through the glass, grabbing Nonimus by the neck, and pulling him in.
This, of course, got the attention of the goblins, as they slammed the door, and moved to see what was happening with their 'boss'. Much to their surprise, they saw another bull-man crashing through the window (and parts of the wall) to engage their own boss. Clease had no patience for this sneaking around anymore, and thought fighting a fellow minotaur would be up to his usual standards.
A few of the goblins jumped into the fray with 'The Duke' (though they were yelling at him, calling him 'Ferd'), peppering Clease with arrows as he prepared to clash axes. 'The Duke' needed a free hand for his greataxe, however; so he casually hurled Nonimus through another window, sending him tumbling into the front lawn. Honeypot kicked in the front door, shield fixed, but sword stowed, and began giving the goblins a big, ugly eye.
A number of the goblins took this as a hint that they should be on their way, and bolted towards the back. However, Savina and Lydia assumed things had gone for the worst. As they headed down towards the room they were waiting in, Lyida launched a column of flame into the midst of the goblins, sending a pair of them tumbling, flaming, to the ground.
Clease landed a pair of heavy blows into The Duke, bloodying him, but the goblin sharpshooters' aim was far better than Clease had anticipated. Injured, he crashed quickly back out the window, as Honeypot stomped into the room. His ugly eye had worked – the goblins re-aimed, this time at their boss. This was an opportunity to make themselves look like they were victimized by the bull, instead of making victims of the children. They fired into him, as Nonimus stepped forward, pommelled the bull, and watched him fall into unconciousness.
Honeypot quickly advised Savina and Lydia of the situation, so as to not do any more harm to the goblins, and had them begin escorting them back to the portal as quickly as possible. Honeypot stepped out the front, alerting the townsfolk to how the situation had been handled, and no children had been hurt. The 'sneaky' half of the party faded away into the nearby woods, as Honeypot, Katerina and Leahcim spoke with the grateful townspeople. Leahcim brought up the subject of reward.
The townsfolk had only a few things to offer, and they opted towards giving them a pair of potions they had stolen away – Katerina stripped the armor off of the unconcious Duke, and made off with that, thinking she could fit it better to her circumstances. Honeypot insisted they had to be on their way, and the group made a hasty departure to meet the others at the portal.
The goblins were just as thankful. Identifying themselves as a tribe of goblins calling themselves (for whatever reason) 'The Pigs', they said they'd make it up to the group somehow. A few murmurings of doubt were whispered between the party, but, they thought better of refusing outright. When Honeypot and the others arrived at the portal, they made their way back in, and back to Sigil, and the Lazz School.
Of course, 'The Pigs' weren't readied to be walking into what they assumed was their ultimate punishment, a room full of blood and suffering. With heavy sighs, the party dragged the screaming goblins through the room (with an onlooking audience, applauding), out of the school, and back to Sir Horatio's, where they would be more than welcome once they shut up.