Sundered Lands 2

The Sundered Lands of Palladium

Session 2
February 2-24, 2016

Lopan Aftermath

Tuesday 3 October

Colwyn Dray… Dead

An old friend, dead in the street

Colwyn Dray’s body lay dead in the street outside the tavern. His body was surrounded by the splintered fragments of much of the front of the building where the giant ape demon had smashed his way in and then out. After killing Dray and grabbing something off the body, the giant demon simply vanished into thin air while the remainder of the demons were dispatched inside the building. The nauseating stench from the Dretch demon, as Silver identified them, still hung heavy in the room as the remaining patrons tried to calm from the panic of the attack. The young man that had been thrown into the fire was alive but in very bad shape and would no doubt die from his wounds without immediate, magical assistance. The little girl that the Schir demon, also identified by Silver, had knocked down and stepped on was crying and severely hurt but would live.

Arn confirmed, thanks to his magical, demon-hunting helmet, that there were no further demons in the vicinity. There were not a lot of locals around either. Seems like with the volatile nature of the world, everyone took cover at the first signs of trouble. A few folk can be seen peeking their heads out of doors and windows, but the streets are clear.

Once she's certain that the demons are dealt with, Silver ducks into a nearby alleyway. With the assumption of being hidden from sight, she transforms back to her Elven form.  With that, she dusts herself off and rejoins the others to survey the carnage and the remains of Colwyn Dray.

"Now what?  Do we even have someone we can inform about Colwyn?"

No one seems to have an answer for Silver’s question. He usually contacted them, not the other way around. Someone mentions trying to get a message to the Library somehow, though with the war going on to the east, a physical message might never make it there. A magical message of some sort could work, but for all anyone knew, any given recipient might not even be alive anymore.

The Kankoran calls over to Valinya, “Hey Sis, do you still have that medalion they gave us after the Night of the Long Knives? We used it a few times in Seaholme and while escorting Varlad. As I recall it also had some kind of group attunement power - if you have it we should probably all renew that together and try to contact the Library.

Valinya shakes her head and reminds him that the Stone of Fortune had been returned to the Guardians of Bletherad shortly after completing their first run of missions with it.

Taking a deep breath to collect herself momentarily after her ordeal, Valinya hustles over to the burned young man.  Touching him gently she softly sings a song of healing.  

The young man looks much better now, though still covered in many serious burns. He stops wailing and relaxes a bit, giving Valinya a weak smile of thanks. Valinya winces in pain as she stands back up, her own wounds still in need of some attention and looks around for anyone else to help. She remembers seeing Seeker get slashed by one of the Schir demon’s huge halberd but he does not seem to be wounded anymore.

Keeping an eye out for constabulary or similar response to the ruckus the Druid says quietly to the others, “We need to get his body somewhere secluded and secure as quickly as possible. Assuming that death by demonic gorilla hasn’t harmed his smoke too severely I can still at least finish our conversation as well as ensure that they can’t harm or take him while he walks the Blue Road. If he’s already in danger in the Mists then I’ll have to move fast in order to help him. Hmm, Cousin Magpie, can you hide the body until we’re somewhere safe?”

Silver looks puzzled at what Moonscar is saying.  “Wait, can you really talk to dead people, or does this have something to do with your mushrooms?”

“I talk to them. Not directly like LadyLorryn; I have to perform a sing and the ritual takes a little bit of time.”

Fortis helps with the wounded, focusing on the most grievously injured and working towards the more stable patients. As soon as he is done he tries to remember anything he can about the ape demon that might help in identifying and tracking it.

Fortis can confirm the information that Silver had mentioned about the Schir and Dretch demons, but he could not recall anything about huge purple and red ape like demons that could teleport. Maybe if he had access to a library or repository of lore he could figure something else out.

Seeker gently picks up Colwyn Dray’s limp form. “Okay, let’s get going. Where to? There are parks here in town. Would that suit your purposes?” Seeker also turns his ears to the task of detecting any approaching footsteps. Best to be gone when the guards arrive.

“Did anyone ever speak to Colwyn about his beliefs? Talks With Rocks, if you have time to ask him, I’d like to know how he would like to be ushered into the next world. I am unsure of his funerary practices.” When the time is right, Fortis will try to help take care of his fallen friend.

Arn points with his mace down the street, toward the waterfront. “I found a small abandoned shop back there when I arrived in town a few days ago. I’ve been crashing there to save some coin. We can go there. It’s big enough for all of us, come on, I’ll lead the way!” He grabs his shield, straps it on his arm and heads off down the road at a decent run. He does not look back to see if anyone is following him.

Seeker waits to make sure the rest of the team all get moving and follows behind the doughty Dwarf. His height gives him a good vantage to watch for any more trouble. He almost hopes there is some trouble - he has lost a comrade and is looking for revenge.

With a final sniff of the air the Kankoran sets out after him.

The burly Wolfen leans down. “Did you manage to catch the scent of that big demon? We might not be able to catch him, but if we can find a place with a trace, we could maybe figure out who it might have been working with.”

The little Kankoran nods replying softly in Wolfen, “I should be able to recognize all three later. You should be able to get it’s scent from the body. Come to think of it, we should also smell his wounds. I didn’t notice it having any weapons - teeth or claws might have poison or other trace.”

The companions follow Arn down the street and around a few corners. As they put a little distance between themselves and the scene of the attack, more and more people are seen on the streets. Arn makes no attempt to avoid them in his barreling run down the center of the street. Most everyone hurriedly gets out of the group's way, giving them a wide berth. With all the trouble going on in the world, it is clear that these people are not looking to invite any more into their lives.

The surly Dwarf shoves the door open and leads the way into the abandoned shop. Quite a few bottles, wineskins and small kegs litter the floor around a grungy bed roll. Arn shrugs sheepishly and smiles, “Most of this trash was here before I got here. Really.” He clears the top of what had once been some sort of counter sticking out from the wall and Seeker lays the body of their former companion gently down. Everyone then turns to face the Kankoran Druid.

He sets his pack down and starts taking a few things from it, saying to the room in general, “Okay, I’ll try to keep it down. Someone should keep look out or
cast some sort of warding, perimeter alarm kind of thing to prevent any unpleasant interruptions.

Fortis casts Mystic Mist to cover the floor of the shop. Unfortunately, that pretty much depletes his energy. “I’m just going to rest here for a minute… Don’t let me disturb you” His companions a little more secure, the Ellyl seats himself on an overturned mug and watches the druid go about his work.

Seeker gives the druid a nod and takes up a position near the door. Occasionally, he will crack it open and stick his head out. It is not sure whether to check the street, or to get a breath of fresher air than that in Arn’s “lair.”

All appears quiet outside as the sun begins to dip in the western sky behind the bulk of the island. The streets are beginning to darken in the late afternoon shadows. The few  people on the streets move quickly as if they can sense the tension in the air. Seeker feels no threats from anyone outside.

Silver says “sure, I’ll have a look around”.  She proceeds to check around the shop, taking note of windows and doors.  She’s looking for anywhere someone might be hiding in here, as well as places other than the door guarded by Seeker that might be used by someone to gain entrance.

The shop is quite small, nestled between the two larger buildings to either side. There is a small closet and a space that might be considered a back room. The front door had previously been boarded up, but Arn had apparently gotten it open regardless. The one front window has been boarded up, though it wouldn’t take much to get through it. The back room has a narrow, broken door and a small busted out window. There is some junk that could be stacked up to somewhat block the door, but nothing really big enough to fully close it off.

The only other thing of note in the back room is a broken and ruined ladder laying on the floor beneath a 2 foot square opening leading up into an attic space of some kind, though one would have to climb or fly up into the opening to examine it and it looks far too small for Silver to squeeze through.

Silver fiddles with the back door, and pokes her head out to see what's on the far side of the shop. and sees an empty, trash filled alleyway.  After that, she returns to the larger room.  "Fortis, there's a hole back here that leads to an upper floor or something, but it's not very big - could you check it out?"

In a few minutes Silver, I’m quite tired at the moment,” Fortis replies.

After that, Silver returns to the back, and piles some junk up against the broken door, and tries to get comfortable watching the back alley through the broken window.

Uncle Colwyn, are you safe?

I’m not sure how long this will end up taking but give it an hour to be on the safe side - hopefully much less but I don’t know what state Uncle Colwyn’s smoke is in.” Quickly propping up his little tent with the opening facing the body he sit’s down in the entrance and mixes a little bit of white powder and water in a turtle shell bowl and does the same with some red powder in another. Dipping his fingers into the white paint he circles Colwyn, drawing various symbols on the floor then stands back to check his work. Suddenly he snarls in irritation, looks at the paint pot shaking his head at the dark spots he can see there and mutters in Wolfen, “Neophyte mistake. Slow down.” He grabs a rag then, erases his work, cleans the bowl and his hands, mixes up a fresh batch of white paint, and repeats the procedure without getting traces of red ochre in his lime. After checking his work he then takes the other paint pot and proceeds to draw red circles on his forehead and chest followed by the same on Colwyn.

With that he begins to circle the body with a slow, measured step creating a soft, rhythmic clacking from the deer toe dance bustles around his ankle punctuated by shakes of the rattle in his hand. He slowly raises his other hand to his forehead as if to shield his eyes from the sun while peering all about looking for someone, calling out with a low, ululating cry. After circling a few times he sits down in his tent squinting at the body while softly beating a heart beat rhythm on his little drum and chanting. After about half an hour he suddenly jumps up with a joyful cry. “Uncle Colwyn! Are you safe?”

For almost an hour then he continues on, moving slowly and mumbling as if sleepwalking. About 10 minutes or so into this the druid shuffles around and fumbles through Colwyn’s pockets, finding only coins, and then returns to his mumbled conversation. Eventually he straightens up and peers around for a moment, evidently regaining focus in the world of the living and tells the others, “Well, Sis, you know that medallion I asked you about? Seems like there’s a hell monkey wearing it in his navel now. He couldn’t tell me much but at least I do have the mission now, and a detail sticks in mind that you might glean something from Brother. I’ll do this the slower way to make sure nothing gets left out.” He pauses for a moment, breathing slowly and appears to slip fluidly into yet another altered consciousness. Eye’s closed, he then recites the entire conversation:
Question:  Are you safe?
Answer: I think so.

Question:  What were those god-suckers? Were they tracking you or what ever it was you were carrying?
Answer: They were agents of the Lords of Chaos. Demons. They were searching for the Stone of Fortune.

Question:  and did they just get it?
Answer: I don’t know. It was in my pocket when I tried to escape

Question:  well, it looked like the ape thing took something - where were you humping it?
Answer: it was in my pocket

Question:  (shaking head) nope, no stones. just a few coins and a crumpled doobie. What would they want with it? Seemed very handy when we were using it but not the sort of thing to move earth and hell over
Answer: Recently the Lords have moved to take or destroy all of our stones and reliable divination methods

Question:  So that was about stealing the sparkly, rather than trying to avalanch the mission by poaching its gophers?
Answer: The stone showed me a vision of a young blond girl and Essanos. I think some of you saw that vision before. That is why I brought you together.

Question:  Ah  - you said that the southern party’s missing contact had resurfaced. Do you think it likely that the demons will try to further harry the mission, or do you think the stone was their objective - not that others won’t probably show up. Still, the warband you’ve fought. . .
Answer: I don’t know. But i think that this girl is somehow important.

Question:  Bullseye. So let’s course back to your mission briefing and then hash to today’s landslide by tracking whatever arrow flies that way.
Answer: I feel my time with you is getting short. I must move on soon. You are the Guardians last hope, you are the world's only hope. Go to Essanos and find out how to stop these Shadow Pearls. I think the Vanderboren family is somehow the key.

Question:  Do we have any further leads or contacts beyond the general location of Essanos?
Answer: I was hoping to use the stone with you just before the demons appeared. Hoping it would give you some more insight. The stones always worked better with a group because it could draw upon the combined experiences and destinies of all involved to predict possible or probable outcomes.

Question:  ah - that makes sense - I remember the group consciousness raising exercise.
There’s a fork in your trail now: if you’re alright with me taking one of your knucklebones I may be able to speak to you in the future should there be great need - it’s a lot harder than this today. By the other branch I can close this with a sing which will ensure the further safety of your smoke - among other things this sing would no longer be possible at all.
Answer: I have faith in you all, even if you did leave me stuck in that mine that one time… Talking to you is becoming cumbersome, I would prefer to move on. my time here is done, i believe. Good luck and may the gods watch over you.

Question:  Course swiftly then Uncle.
Answer: (faintly receding) Bye-Bye! Have fun storming the castle!

As he opens his eyes once more he looks around, “Not a lot I’m afraid but it appears that among us we do in fact have many of the strands. If we can recognize them we should be able to reweave much of this tattered web. Brother, I suspect that you know it’s natural pattern best - debriefing cousins Ironfist and Magpie once more on that south team mission is probably a good place to start.” Looking at Fortis then, “Nothing specific about funeral customs but that's normal. The only time I’ve heard of a departed smoke caring about it at all was out of concern for their loved ones. Few such rites are for the dead, they're to benefit the survivors - to a departing smoke the flesh is a cast-off, outgrown rag. As for the few services we may render to the smoke itself, if I interpret his last remarks correctly as a choice regarding them, then I will sing his smoke safely beyond the reach of this world and those within it. That’s going to take a while I’m afraid, at least to feel sure the Lords of Chaos and their butt-gorillas can’t reach him. Buuut, since some things of Nightblind culture and expression still escape me, if anyone heard it differently please tell me before I start.” He suddenly cocks his head with a look of mild surprise and says, “Whoah! I hadn't noticed, but there’s not a single one among us!”  With an almost wicked gleam in his eyes he grins impishly, “If we do manage to save this world ourselves,” slowly, savoring the thought he chuckles, “the War Priests are going to choke on that bone til the Great Web spirals back in upon itself.” Brightly, “I’m almost starting to like this trail!”

Seeker leans down to Arn and Fortis. “So, what can you tell us about this girl in Essanos?” He is already trying to think about how quickly the team can get a boat to the port city. “I’ve been there before, based there when I was doing some salvage work for the Library. It’s a full moon - high tide should be at around 6th bell tomorrow. Do we need to do anything before we leave? We’ll have an early morning to get our noses all pointed in the same direction.”

Seeing that no one had any further questions the druid returned to his paint pots, mixing more lime and a third bowl of some black mineral he tends once more to Colwyn’s body, first filling the red circles of the previous ritual with black and then covering any exposed skin with white lime. Surveying his work thoughtfully he then adds further symbols in black and red on and around it. Once the physical preparations are complete he sits down in his little tent and begins playing his drum and chanting once more.

“I should probably get this medallion recharged again.  I was expecting to need the armor in that last fight.  Does anyone know where to get that done around here?”

“Hmmm. I don’t normally have much business with enchanters. But I’d be happy to team up with you tomorrow to help you look.”

“I do remember some place called ‘The Cauldron’, but I was just following the others around, so I don’t know where it was.  Maybe I could figure it out if I was higher up...”

Fortis is sure he could lead you back to that place if you really wanted to go there. Arn mentions finding passage to Essanos, “How are we all to get back to Essanos? It’s been a few years since I been there but I do recall it’s a bit far to swim, ain’t that right Fortis?” He chuckles briefly, “but seriously, we need to find a ship. You think Captain Tahir and the Tiny Titan still ply these waters? And maybe our old friend Gorg is still with him. If we can contact them, they are sure to help us out, don’t you think?”

After about half an hour he suddenly concludes his sing with four loud beats and a shouted “Heyyyyah- ho!” and looks around the room a bit blearily until he focuses once more upon the World of Form. “Hmmm, I guess that went a lot more smoothly than I expected!”

Seeker looks at the group. “Okay, then, Fortis, why don’t you and Silver and your wicker-basket-carrying friend check out the enchanter in the morning. Arn, if you have friends at the docks, then maybe you can catch us a quick ride out. Val, you have anything you need to tackle? Does anyone need backup? I don’t think there’s anything I need to do tomorrow.”

He looks sadly at the corpse in the middle of the room. “If we’re done with Colwyn, perhaps we can move him somewhere out of the way? Unless we have a way to put him to rest in here, that is.” He looks to the rest for thoughts on that, then presses on. “Let’s get our watches set up and get some rest. We’ll need to hit the ground running in the morning.” He looks the team over. “Fortis, you look beat. Why don’t you and Silver take the morning watch. I’ll take the second shift, maybe with Val? And then, Arn, you can take first watch with Mister White. Sound good?”

Seeker moves to a corner and sets up his kit. Everything is done in a precise and efficient manner. Barring a need for further discussion, he looks ready to sack out for the night.

“Thanks big guy, I’m feeling a bit worn out. I’ll go with Silver in the morning and work out a way to recharge the harness.” With that exhausted pronouncement he slips off the mug, adopts a posture of deep repose and falls asleep.

“Well, I still want to see what’s up above us.”  Silver heads towards the back, looking to either jump up to the ceiling hatch, or find something to shove under it to climb up from.

Silver (in Elf form, still), manages to push together some broken pieces of furniture to cobble together a makeshift ladder up to the trapdoor in the ceiling. The lithe Elf girl starts to scramble up the pile of furniture and slips, nearly falling back to the floor. Silver slows down and takes her time, realizing that she is not as comfortable doing physical tasks such as climbing without the use of her claws. Nevertheless, she makes it to the to trap door and pokes her head up into the dusty darkness of an attic crawlspace. From the trapdoor opening, she cannot see much but by the looks of it, there isn’t much to see.

After Talks finishes up his rituals and Seeker and Fortis bed down for the night, Arn grabs one of the empty barrel kegs sitting in the corner and hoists it to his shoulder. “I’m gonna go fill this up before we leave tomorrow. I’ll see if I can’t find someone headed to Essanos, possibly some old friends if were lucky!” He nods to those still awake and stomps out into the darkening street.

The little druid nods, “Tread lightly Uncle.” He walks about the place looking for potential entry and exit point besides the obvious and then does the same outside with particular attention to any way to get to and from the roof. Through the shift Sings To Moon periodically checks the outside.

During the third watch, Silver and Fortis see Seeker wake, at what feels to them about 11th Sand. He gives them a nod and a quick grin and, dressed only in his leggings and a loose top, heads out the door.

Wednesday 4 October

Ready to Set Sail

the Tiny Titan

At First Bell, they hear a scratching at the door, then he enters, panting hard but with a big smile.

“Okay, folks, we’re burning daylight! Let’s get ready to go!” He gets his sleeping area tidy and armors up. He carefully prepares Colwyn Dray’s corpse for transport, putting Dray’s sword and knife in his satchel. He is ready in ten minutes.

After everyone finishes waking up, Arn informs everyone that today is their lucky day and that the Tiny Titan and Captain Tahir are in port and heading to Essanos and would be happy to give them a ride. He also exclaims that their old friend Gorg, was still with the Captain, now acting as First Mate of the Tiny Titan. The ship was set to sail at 6th bell with the tide and the Captain would like everyone on board at least an hour before that.

Being early, there was still plenty of time in the morning to get some things taken care of. Silver is able to get her amulet recharged with no problem and everyone else is able to pick up the last few things they might need.

Silver spends a moment casting a spell first thing in the morning, before heading off in search of the enchanter shop.  She looks pleased with the results, but there’s nothing obvious that happened.

Also, while out and about shopping, she looks for a couple more changes of clothing, picking out a sailor outfit, another set of travelling clothes, and a stout dark-colored cloak in particular.  A couple of hair clips catch her eye on the way to the docks that she ends up buying as well.

Master Antinn, I have heard tell of a method by which my item can slowly accumulate charge. Do you know of such a ritual? I believe this wand can be appropriately converted. Or perhaps that marvelous broach there is for sale?

The enchanter, a dark-skinned Southerner named Antinn does not seem to remember Fortis from his last visit here a few years ago. He explains that he can in fact charge Silver’s amulet and even make a few modifications to it that will make it generally more useful. As to Fortis’ question, his answer is that he can enchant any object that has been mystically bonded with by the caster. For both Silver and Fortis, this process will take one hour and he indicates that they each must be present when he performs his enchanting.

Seeker browses the stalls on the way to the docks. He realizes he is somewhat conspicuous with a wrapped-up Human body draped over one shoulder, but better that than leaving Colwyn Dray’s corpse in Arn’s abandoned building. There are the usual weapons of course, but Lopan has a few interesting odds and ends that he ponders. A few people look like they might want to discuss the fact that he is carrying a corpse, but he growls at them and they decide they have business elsewhere. He arrives at the gangplank at five minutes before 5th Bell.

Everyone makes to the docks and the Tiny Titan right at 5th bell and are greeted by their old friend Gorg and Captain Alixandir Tahir. The Captain frowns at the wrapped body of Colwyn Dray over Seeker’s shoulder but just shakes his head and does not say anything about it. Gorg is happy to see his old friends as they all exchange hugs and greetings.

Seeker waits as his friends greet their old comrade, then steps forward. “Call me Seeker, Gorg. I’ve heard good things about you from our friends.”

They are taken aboard and shown to their area of the below decks area. The Captain tells Silver that the crew has been informed of his “condition” but asks that she try to be discreet about making the change. “Times are changing, my friend,” he says to Silver, in Elf form. “Strange things are afoot in the world and folks are more able to understand it. Doesn’t mean they like or anything, but many can be more accepting. I still caution you around smaller settlements. Place like Essanos these days, you might even get away with prowling the streets in Dragon form.

“Really? That would be… strangely refreshing. However, I should be able to stay as you see me unless something happens and a fight breaks out.”  She looks around at the ship with an obvious nostalgic look.  “You know, I kind of missed this ship.  I even picked up a bit of sailing since I was here last.  Let me know if you need an extra hand while we’re travelling together -- It would beat sitting around being bored.”

We should gather a bit to plan. Let’s review everything we know and everything we can assume about our mission. We have “young blond girl” and “Essanos” and “some of you saw that vision before” and “the Vanderboren family is somehow the key”
Does anyone recall seeing visions that contained any of those elements? Has anyone heard of or had dealings with the Vanderboren family?

Fortis will try to establish a few things about the journey as soon as they are clear of the harbor. How long will the trip be? What was the political and military situation in Essanos the last time the Tiny TItan made port there? Is the crew aware of any particular dangers in the areas we intend to transit?

Seeker volunteers whatever information he has gleaned from his time in Essanos. It was actually where he was prior to his trip to Lopan City. His eyes seem to focus somewhere in midair as he starts dredging things up from his prodigious memory.  “Well, starting with the basics, Essanos is a colony of Lopan, so, technically, part of the Dominion of Man. It has a temperate climate, or at least it did until the recent Cataclysm. Now storms lash the city on a regular basis.

“It’s several hundred years old, and has had a rough history. Pirates, Coyle bands from the Ophid Wastes. It was actually taken over by the Western Empire, and suffered under their yolk, until about three decades ago, when the Westerners just packed up and left. Threatened again by pirates and fell folk from the North, Essanos reestablished their ties with Lopan.

His eyes drop back down to his comrades. “Of course, after the Cataclysm, things changed.” He sighs. “The chaos has spread all over the Ophid Grasslands. The city has had to repel several incursions from Coyle hordes, for example.

He shrugs, his massive shoulders making his armor creak. “Vanderboren? That’s not a name I bumped into in my time there.”

The captain tells everyone that it will take some time to make it to Essanos, probably about 3 weeks. The usual approach to Essanos had been to go around Lopan to the south, then over to Phi before heading north to Essanos but recent events have forced most captains to take alternate routes. The sea in those areas are now considered too dangerous for most to pilot through and Captain Tahir states that he will sail north along the eastern coast of Lopan before crossing over to follow the northern shore of the Inland Sea until he makes it to Essanos. There will be several stops along the way to drop off and take on different goods. He says he will not get his feelings hurt if different passage is taken, though not many ships would brave the waters where Phi used to be, at least not for a great sum of money.

The ship is prepared and some last minute cargo is taken aboard then just before the 6th bell, the Tiny Titan unfurls its sails and heads out of the Lopan City harbor.

Planning Aboard the Tiny Titan

Sailing the Inland Sea
The little Druid takes it all in with a grin. It’s been awhile since his last voyage and he’s always enjoyed it, though his companion much prefers dry land. As the Captain finishes he replies to him,”Thank you for the passage Grandfather. I’m looking forward to the voyage. It will take a few minutes, but once you have a free moment I’ll give you a weather report for the next few days. While I’m not quite so well versed in these strands of the web as some of my peers and elders, should we anticipate anything serious I can have some influence upon what develops to keep our sailing relatively smooth.”

Aiolos the Air Warlock
The Captain thanks the Kankoran for his offer of help but explains that he has in his employ, on the Titan, an Air Warlock, Aiolos. Some of the gathered party remember the Warlock from their previous voyage on the Titan. “He keeps us in good shape with the wind and the weather, but I am sure that if I can benefit from your, um, special talents, I will let you know,” he says, eyeing one of Talk’s belt pouches. “But please, do me the respect of not peddling your wares to my men while we are at sea. If we are in port overnight, that is a different story.” He bows to Moonscar and heads off to take care of some shipboard business.

Silver approaches the Seeker once the ship is well underway and the crew has mostly settled into their routines.  “Hey, given the adversaries we were dealing with before, a single stowaway could cause us a lot of grief it it has time to hide and summon more.  If you get a chance, could you sniff around the cargo just in case? I’m wondering about the stuff that came on board at the last minute especially.”

That evening as they gather for their meal Fotis strikes up a discussion. “Good Eventide Valinya, I’m attempting to piece together a plan whereby we might gather more information about the mysterious Vanderboren family or our adversaries and I would appreciate your thoughts. My first thought was that we may be able to make use of History or Ancient History spells to garner additional insight into the circumstances surrounding the destruction of the mansion. Additionally, if our enemies have been active there we might be able to learn something about them. Regardless of the efficacy of that method of inquiry it is possible something remains in the grounds that could be used as a sympathetic link to cast a Seeker spell to locate the missing girl. Simultaneously it might be worthwhile to have someone search through the local records and see if any clues can be gleaned as to who might have been responsible for the house’s destruction, why they might have done it, or who might have taken in and hidden survivors.”

“As a separate line of thought, we have been operating at a distinct information disadvantage for far too long. We need to be prepared to capture and interrogate a participant in these destructive attacks. Someone knows something and we ought to start thinking about how to locate someone with that information and extract it from them. I have a few ideas but am curious about your thoughts. Seeker, I’d like to ask you in a moment if you have some em up your metaphorical sleeve for capturing one of the enemy?”

“On a third note, I think it may behoove us all to be more prepared to face off against demons in the future. Perhaps we could employ a priest competent in exorcism, or a demonologist with a background in binding? Some of us may need to bulk up our offenses and defenses on that particular front. I know I was not prepared for the screaming purple ape. Arn is the best prepared among us on that front, but now they know that and it is unlikely they will fail to take precautions next time.”

“Well? What do you all think?”

The druid listens thoughtfully to his companion’s suggestions, nodding frequently, then replies, “In broader terms I think we need to consider what Uncle Colwyn told us. Since the opposition has been systematically reducing our divinatory capabilities we should do what we can to improve those we have inherently. They can’t steal my sings, your spells or Sis’s songs. Of equal importance, I can also help making it harder for them to use the same on us. We have a fair amount of time before landfall to make full use of them all.

If we should capture someone ve druids have a number of vays to make them talk. Very effective but can be time consuming if they’re particularly intractable since it would take a few nights of dreamwalking to really prep them well. Still, I should be able to get good results in an afternoon even without the preliminaries.

As for the demons, I’m not quite sure - I’ll have to ask some of my friends. I can drive malefic smokes out of a person or place - or keep them from inhabiting either, but I don’t know what effect, if any, these sings would have on embodied demons. I think we need to find means to make our weapons hurt them more. Again, I can do that to fight smokes but I don’t think it would affect the demons at all.

“Now that you mention it, I wonder if the theft of the Stone of Fortune is really to keep us from divining what to do, or could it also be a component in making one of those nasty Shadow Pearls.  I mean, if they just wanted to stop us divining things, wouldn’t they just smash it?  No way to really know for sure I suppose.”

“Uncle Colwyn said that they’ve been stealing all of our physical divinatory assets that they can for a while now. Of course, while reducing our magical intelligence capabilities they’re also enhancing their own. On the other hand,” shrugging, “none of that means that it isn’t a shadow pearl component. It would really help us if we knew they powers of the stolen objects and how they’re employed - we need to render them ineffective at least in regard to their use against our team and mission. Surveillance countermeasures, magical and otherwise, are something we need to assess and start employing very soon I think.” Turning to Seeker, “Brother, let me know when you want to hold council on that part of the picture. In the mean time I’ll ask Sis and Cousin Magpie about what they can do. Sis may be able to tell us a little more of what they might be able to do with their most recent acquisition.”

Seeker listens to his comrades thoughts and concerns, chewing on them well.

He nods to Silver. “I’d be happy to check out that cargo. Maybe Mister White and I can give it a sniff in a moment.”

“Fortis, you bring up a lot of good points. Our mission is to help this mysterious Vanderboren female in whatever ways we can. Finding her is obviously our first step. Your suggestions all seem like good contingencies, based on what we find at the site of the manor. We’ll have to see what we find when we get there. Again, Mister White and I may be able to catch her scent and find her that way, too.”

“The demons are another matter. Correct me if I’m wrong, but my impression is that they would be impossible to capture in any sort of combat scenario. They tend to fight until defeated, at which point they evaporate. Is there some magical way you can bind one? Keep him in place and hopefully subject to our interrogations?”

He gets that far-away look in his eyes. “Or perhaps we are looking at the problem from the wrong end. These creatures are not natural to our world. Someone of this world must be bringing them here. Is there any way to find the summoner given the presence of one of their minions? Do they have to be close by? If so, we could probably spare you to track him down whilst we keep said minions occupied.”

“In any case, the demons are tough and hit pretty dang hard. Based on what we’ve heard about fighting them, if you don’t have a magical weapon, get one.” He rubs the ribs where he got whacked by the demonic halberd. “I’d propose that if ‘Grape Ape’ and his cohort shows up targeting us, instead of trying to kill what are basically infinitely replaceable troops of the enemy, we just bug out. Some of us can fly, some can teleport, and some can just run pretty fast. We leave, and try to regroup somewhere more to our tactical advantage. It also gets the bad guys away from innocents.” His voice gets a bit of a growl to it. “That little Human girl should not have been caught in the crossfire. We need to own that just as much as the demons.”

“Restaging the conflict might also give you mages a chance to locate the puppetmaster. Let’s not let them play on their choice of battlefield if we can help it.” He looks at the mages in the group. “Let me know what resources you might need to help you come up with a plan for that. I’ll see what I can do.”

The Kankoran nods. “I need to go down to the hold and have a word with my friends anyway. I brought along some spare food for them so they won’t have to raid the ship’s, and we’ll have a constant lookout below decks to alert us to any sudden appearances.

Hmm, Cousin Magpie, I’d like to sit council with you and Sis at least - I think Silver may have some knowledge as well. I don’t know about demons but it occurs to me that some of my sings on that path can affect beings in physical form here. When I first met Sis and Uncle Ironfist they were dealing with some strong guardian smoke actually entering the World of Form in the ancient druid grove it guarded. One night when it appeared again and tried to run to the town near by I was able to make it come back and stay in the grove, so there’s at least some possibility I can affect these things too, but I know nothing of their nature.”

“Seeker, considering all the time you spent in Essanos, can you recall any demonologists? A bit more of an expert opinion would be useful.
I like your idea about disengagement then reengagement on more favorable terms. Maybe we can plan a few generic  maneuvers to execute that idea?” Suddenly the surface of the crowded table is covered by a regular series of hexagons with a few miniature statues… A Wolfen, A Dwarf, A Kankoran, An Elf, A Silver Dragon and a blue-winged Ellyl. The ‘map’ incorporates mugs as towers and turns Arn’s plate into some kind of animal trough. ”Now, if we start here and then…” The little illusionary figures spend the next while engaging in what is sometimes a disturbingly detailed and graphic mock combat with a variety of creatures, often pausing and resetting themselves to a previous position as the group offers what advice they care to contribute. “Silver, do you think the flames look more realistic like this?” The miniscule eruption of flame coming from the miniature SIlver takes on a bluer tinge. “or this?” the flame burns redder and billows puffs of smoke. “I want the effects to be as authentic as possible.”

“Well, we would if you’d back up a bit!”  Silver gives the small canine an annoyed look, then turns to Fortis.  “I like the blue fire, but it looks more accurate with the red.  Too bad it doesn’t work on these demon things though.  Any ideas how I might be able to hurt them?”

Well Silver, I’m no expert on draconic physiology, but I do expect the more you practice breathing flame the larger your flame will become and the more accurately you will be able to locate it.

Seeker inspects Fortis’ mockup. “I think the biggest problem with my ‘bug out’ plan is you, Arn. You’re just not that fast. So, team, how can we get Arn out of there with the rest of us?”

Arn grunts and puffs up his chest, “I’m plenty fast, shaggy. And anyway, why do we have to run again? That part isn’t making any sense to me at all.” The Dwarf crosses his arms and looks at his companions.

In certain circumstances it may make sense for Arn to stay in a defensive position while the rest of us maneuver to gain better angles of attack or pursue different objectives. His ability to block, parry and withstand attacks could occupy the attention of quite a number of foes, allowing the rest of us to pick them off. We might want to enhance his defenses farther if we are able though. A Shield spell might do the trick.

The druid chuckles, “Let them choke on the bait? Before landfall I should have a few charms for everyone that will help some. They only work once but it only takes a feather to tip the balance.  In the meantime, Brother, whenever you’re ready let’s check the hold and then consider our various pieces of this. Anything we come up with we can all share again before bed. I should perhaps do some Dreamwalking tonight and see what other council I can gain.”

I should let you all know that one of my new spells might make it difficult to see for a while if you are looking at it when it goes off. If you hear me use the word “Daisy” you may want to avoid staring at our opponents directly, I’m going to try to blind them with a Flash of light. Has anyone else learned any new tricks since last time we met?

Seeker commits the SOP “Daisy” to memory. “I agree that there are times when Arn would work wonderfully as a rear guard. But there are times when I do think we should have a bug-out plan, and I don’t want to leave anyone behind. Best to know the whats, whos and hows now, rather than having to try and come up with them on the run. Leaves us able to concentrate on other things that we DO need to figure out on the run.

Later, in a moment of boredom the Ellyl suffers a creative inspiration. “Arn, if I could make for you a strong but waterproof backpack container to tote around your favorite beverage, would that interest you? After a few moments Fortis Creates, Shapes and makes Essential and turns to metal (essential metal) a keg sized backpack, something like a modern hip flask but contoured to the shape of the dwarf’s back and with loops to string straps through. “It has a spout at the top you can plug with a stopper and it will be very difficult to break, but it could be dispelled if you run across an angry mage, and then your beer would spill. If you want we may be able to affix a flexible tube and you could drink on the march.”

Seeker observes Fortis’ crafting with interest. “Um, Fortis, would that metal count as ‘magical’ for the purposes of hurting demons? Could you work with Silver to create some hand-to-hand weaponry?”

I regret to inform you that I very much doubt that it would. It isn’t Enchanted per se, rather just Created. It is no more magical than an item I might provide with a create Object spell.

Down with the Sickness

As the gathered companions finish up their evening meal, Valinya leans back on her seat and sighs. She pushes a plate half full of food away from. Arn leaps to his feet grabbing for his mace as everyone else gasps in astonishment. In all they years they have know the Elf maid, they have never seen her not clear her plate, even if it was her third. “I’m not feeling very well,” she mutters through several coughs. In the swaying and flickering light of the below-decks cabin the Captain has given over to the Guardians, her generally pale skin looks a bit flat and grey. Beads of sweat can be seen on her brow. She starts to stand but quickly sits back down. “I really don’t feel good,” she whispers. She begins scratching at her neck and chest then pulls her hand away and looks at it. “Eww,” she says weakly. A yellowish liquid can be seen on her fingertips. She pulls her scarf and collar away from her skin a bit to reveal a large patch of sickly grey skin covered with little black pustules, many of which have been popped and are oozing a yellowish goo.

Let me take a look at that wound...Mr. White, do you have anything in your pockets that might be able to leech out an infection? My healing spells may be able to repair the damage, but I don’t think I have anything to actually cure whatever ailment this might be. Until then I think this tincture to lessen the cough and keep her hydrated is the best I can provide. We should let the Captain know we need to stock up on medical supplies at our first port call.

Valinya tries to say something, but coughs all over Fortis. She covers her mouth and holds her head down in shame.

Trying not to look mortally offended Fortis wipes himself as clean as he can, only mostly smearing a large gob of spittle across the front of his doublet. “Easy girl, just rest now, we’ll fix this soon enough, what were you trying to communicate?”.

Seeker looks helplessly on as Fortis performs his ministrations. Seeing Valinya’s distress, he gets a wet rag and helps clean her up. He picks her up and puts her in a berth, preferably one isolated from the rest.He tucks a blanket around her,  “There, that’s better.”

Arn pulls up a chair next to Valinya’s bunk. “You all shoo. I got this covered.”

Seeker turns to Fortis. “I guess if there’s nothing more we can do for her now, we should let her rest. Let’s head topside.” He leads the way out of the too-small cabin to the deck, where he can stretch properly.

“So, hopefully we can find some solution to her problem at the next port of call.” The big Wolfen looks back at the entrance to the cabin, worry written on his face.

I’m sure it will be fine. She is stronger than she appears and, while ill, she is not that badly off. What shall we do now? A game of Chess? One of these days I’m going to best you in that blasted game.

“This must be because Valinya was hit by the Schir Demon the other day.  I do recall they spread disease.  Hopefully we can keep it from spreading to the crew.  Ah if I could just remember some details about that disease.”

Seeker pulls out his Deeprose Gorge chess set and starts setting up the pieces. “Been a long time since I got this. Seen a lot of the world.” He holds out two massive fists to his opponent. Fortis shrugs and taps the left and Seeker’s fist opens, revealing a white pawn. Good. If I play this game as our team and cast Fortis as the enemy, it makes sense that they take the first move. We lack information. What can we learn from their actions? What different sorts of strategies can we employ?

We could call them out. Act against them publicly, rally the locals against them. Okay, so a strong show of force right away… After a few opening moves, Seeker boldly brings his queen to the center of the board.

Let’s see what happens now.

It wasn’t pretty. A queen is a powerful piece, but by revealing her early, Seeker gave Fortis a target, and her value forced Seeker into a very defensive position. She dealt damage where she could, but by focussing his attacks through a single piece, he allowed Fortis to press the attack while developing more pieces and positions. It was a painful slog, but soon enough Seeker’s claw tapped the side of his king, signalling defeat.

I’m going to try to plan more moves out in the future. Predictive assessments that lead to interlocking strategies are fairly effective… if costly in this case. I am generally not fond of contests of attrition, but I suppose when evenly matched there is sometimes little alternative.

“Well first, congratulations. But I think your observation points out part of the problem. The resources of the Library are severely depleted, whereas our enemy has unknown but potentially extensive forces. As ‘attrition’ as you call it means the lives of this team, like Colwyn Dray, or,” and he looks towards the cabin, “Valinya, we need to adopt strategies that minimize the chance for even a single fatality.”

“I agree, we need to be thinking far ahead. Since we don’t know where we’re headed, we need contingencies, of course, but also how to see new opportunities when they present themselves.”

He twists his head, cracking his neck, “But what is our ultimate goal? To eliminate Chantico worship? Kill all followers? Those things we fought in Lopan CIty didn’t look like religious types.”

“We’re going to be hit by a lot of things that will try to distract us. Like those demons. And I get we need to find the chaos pearl before it can destroy another huge swath of the world. But eventually, we will need to find the Lords of Chaos and bring them to justice.”

Let me say this and ask you to see if this line of reasoning has any flaws.
We are agents of the library. We agree that its mission is in the best interest of this world and the inhabitants thereof. We were recruited and groomed for more complex and important missions. We have no contact with or reason to believe we will have contact with superiors in support of this important mission. We may be in a contest of attrition with a foe employing superior numbers and planning. Therefore it behooves us to generate and employ allies on a number of levels. Those who agree with our ultimate goals should include a number of political, religious and racial groups of substantial strength, though they may not all agree with each other. Convincing governments that there is a danger, that the danger threatens them and that they ought to oppose that danger is a potential source of funding, equipment, information, military power and magical support. We probably should have tried to gain influence with the rulers of Llorn and the head of the Mages guild before we departed, but perhaps Kyrie can assist us. The places that we are going may need convincing as well. In addition to organizational support, we may want to start recruiting for the library. What happens if we are captured or killed? Who knows what needs to be done or would be willing to do it? Our larger mission is too important to allow us to risk having it cease. We need to recruit, vet and train library agents on our own authority and re-establish communications with the library proper to gain either rapprochement or their reproach.

Sitting and listening, Valinya felt her thoughts drifting.  She’d not felt well but assumed it was the usual uneasiness she got whenever she was over water.  Obviously it was more.  In a way she was glad there was something physical actually going on and that it wasn’t just something else.  She was so tired and her thoughts felt a even more slippery.  She didn’t even put up a fuss when Arn designated himself her caregiver.  

Throughout the game the druid drummer and his vocalist companion have been sitting motionless and silent as he apparently contemplates some deep existential meaning revealed to him by the nearby bulkhead. Initially he had glanced over to observe the two players and the progress of their game and check on Valinya’s condition nearby. The next time any of his warband noticed him he was deep into one of his trances and if they didn’t know better they’d be certain that he was doing a quality control test of his merchandise. As the game ends he turns and listens to the conversation. Stretching and twisting his body to relax his tight muscles from sitting, he stands and waits attentively for the two to finish before speaking thoughtfully, “I’d say that the two of you are pretty much bullseye regarding conditions though I think a couple of elements need greater and broader conception, warranting deeper consideration. The oppositions stated goal is to completely unravel and obliterate the entire Web of Forms, that is, literally total annihilation of the world itself and everything in it. If the Lords of Chaos are in fact native to and inhabit this world, then that essentially constitutes a massive suicide pact - only a madman burns the house down around himself and expects to survive. While it’s possible that they have an escape plan to some other realm - the demons demonstrate that they at very least have access to one, I expect that in typical fashion of such groups, their contingency really only includes their highest core leadership cadre while all others, regardless of what they’ve been told, are just pawns they are manipulating to accomplish that goal and will simply be discarded and abandoned once their usefulness has ended.

As for madmen - Chantico and his followers certainly qualify and as I understand it, he does in fact intend to cut off and eat his own head to spite his body. That cult then is perfect for the Lords of Chaos to recruit since they won’t even need to lie and make false promises. However, Star Walker and others seemed quite certain that the Lords of Chaos are much more than just Chantico and he really has little weight among the actual cabal. The upshot of all that then is that it is most likely that the true Lords of Chaos are not native to this web and are rather throwing the matches onto the funeral pyre from another.

Brother, if you are correct about expecting diversions then we must determine *what* they are trying to distract us from. The weight of the mission directly upon us appears much greater than either of you are assessing. As Uncle Colwyn told us, “You are the Guardians last hope. you are the world's only hope.” I hope that I’m wrong but that sounds to me like we are all that is left, at least who are not beyond reach in some manner. I suspect that there is no one at the Library to report to. Most of the Librarians themselves know nothing of the Guardians save perhaps the highest few. We may be able to get some support from the LIbrary proper but I doubt that they have the actual means to provide it.

I have been working to reestablish contact with as much of Star Walker’s network as I can but most of it is within the Great Forest itself. It is at least likely that many tribes there are aware of what’s been happening outside our home but save for those I have spoken with, their information is grossly out of date. That is all I have to say now.”

Silver spends her time nearby listening to the lengthy discussions while neatly coiling unused lines (aka "Rope").  When the little one finally winds down to his conclusion, she steps over and adds her mind to the matters at hand:

"Defeating these Jerks of Chaos is all well and good, but right now we can't even touch their monkey lieutenants.  I'm kind of assuming here, but I would expect them to be at least as powerful as a Demon Lord.  If we're expecting to fight things like that, I think we at least need a way to hurt them.  Maybe we can start thinking about picking a fight once we find an artifact or two in the same league as that Star of Pure Light."

Any ideas on where or how we might acquire such a treasure? I don’t suppose you have some previously unrevealed draconic sense with which to detect objects such as these?

“Well, all the stories I’ve heard about those kind of things usually involve Deities right? Maybe we should be talking to them?  Er, well at least talk to the nice ones anyways.”

“So Arn, how are you going to tend this?  Do you have something for illnesses or do you think this is related to the demons?  Do I need to be exorcised?  

Again, Seeker listens intently, fitting his comrades own thoughts and observations into his mental model of the world and its various elements, focussing both on the macro scale and the immediate challenges of the team.

He clears his throat, the low rumble almost vibrating the floorboards of the small cabin. “You guys make some good points. Silver and Fortis, your thoughts on securing more powerful resources are good ones.” He grins at Silver. “Very draconic.”

“Regarding trying to enlist the aid of powerful political or religious groups, I think, Fortis, that the Guardians had more the right of it. They even kept their counsel from the rest of the Library. A direct approach will encounter numerous gatekeepers as we work up the chain of command, each of which would both require us to reveal more than we should, and might tip off agents of our enemy to our missions. If we are indeed among the last agents of the Guardians, we need to weigh the potential gains against the very real risks.

“That said, searching for allies is an excellent idea, and we should keep our noses up for opportunities to make them when they arise. Perhaps the Vanderboren female will be the next.

“Moonscar, you seem to have more intel on the Chaos Lords than I do. Aside from interacting with the Chantico cultists, all I have heard of the goals of the Chaos Lords was at the Battle of Bletherad, where they said they wanted chaos and to prevent the peace talks. I love your insight into the possibility that the cultists are just pawns, and that the Chaos Lords are separate from them. I had made a misassumption that they were one and the same. Where are you getting your information, and can we leverage that to gain more of an insight into their possible schemes?”

As the first night aboard the Tiny Titan goes on, the companions all eventually find their way to some sort of sleeping accommodations though most do not bed down very near to the coughing and feverish Valinya. Arn, though, does not leave her side, tending to her as best he can.

Thursday 5 October

The Sea-Sick Elf

The sick Elf maiden does not get any better throughout the night and in the morning, she looks even worse. None of the sailors seem to show any indication that they know there is someone severely sick aboard and they go about their business. The Captain and Gorg are likewise unaware of the situation below decks in the area set aside for the passengers.

Gorg, an old companion now first mate
The weather report is cool but windy, which is good for sailing. The Tiny Titan makes good speed that morning and one of the sailors announces that they will be making landfall around 9th bell at a small city called Strona.

As usual, Seeker is up very early, stretching and doing calisthenics up on deck. At first bell, he sees Gorg the first mate emerge from below and take a position on the command deck. Seeker makes his way over.

“Morning, Gorg. Can I talk to you for a moment? We have a problem.”

Seeker leads the Ogre off to a quiet corner of the deck. “Valinya the Elf is sick. We think it was from one of the demons.”

The Ogre slaps his hand to his face. He keeps his voice low and looks around to make sure no one else can hear the conversation. “Oh Gods, that’s not good at all. You know how quickly a disease, not to mention a DEMON disease, can take out an entire crew. Is anyone else showing symptoms? Is she quarantined?” A look of conflicted feelings crosses the Ogre’s expressive face, “You know, I’ve got to tell the Captain, right?”

Seeker nods. “She’s been confined to her bunk, not that she feels like walking around anyways. I’d hoped to see some improvement over the night, but she’s getting worse. The rest of us seem fine. I think I might have been the only other one to get seriously hurt in the fight, and I’m feeling fine.”

He sighs, “And I know you have to tell the Captain. I told you because I figured you’d know best how to tell him. And to ask if we can stay on until port. If he wants, we can disembark and look for a healer there.”

“We were also hoping to have a brief ceremony to put Colwyn Dray to rest. The druid thinks that to best lay him to rest so that necromancers and others of their ilk will have the toughest time interfering with the journey of his spirit to Elysium. I know it’s asking a lot, but regardless of how the captain reacts to Valinya’s condition, we would like to do right by our friend.”

“Of course, I knew him too, you remember. He was a good man and we will honor him with a burial at sea. I will go talk to the Captain about Valinya. Keep her in her bunk and keep everyone away from her. Just because you’re not sick now doesn’t mean you aren’t going to be,” the Ogre considers. “Leave Arn in there with her, he probably won’t get sick. Damn Dwarves can shrug off anything.”

Upon hearing the news Fortis looks around at his friends. “Companions, do we have a plan for seeking help when we pull into port? Do Silver and I need to fly in early and start looking for anything specific? Do we know how much time we have before the Tiny Titan departs again?”

The stop should only be for a few hours and the Titan should be back on the sea before dark.

We need to have  a plan to help Valinya… either get her to a healer to a healer to her. Who is going to be doing what in order to make that happen?”

The day passes on board the ship. A short but respectful ceremony is held for Colwyn Dray and his body is committed to the sea. Valinya continues to be ill, coughing and feverish. The gray pox seem to be spreading over much of her upper torso and arms, climbing up her neck as well. By lunch time the Elf has gotten worse and is becoming even too weak to sit up. Arns is worried but the prospect of finding a healer on shore is calming him a bit. The Captain, who is none too happy to have a demon diseased passenger on board, has assured everyone that there is a temple or two in Strona and that she should be fine once tended to.

The Tiny Titan finally arrives at Strona. Fortis and Silver have flown to shore ahead of the ship to make arrangements with the local healer to come aboard and help Valinya. The old man, a Priest of Algor, the Storm Lord, agrees to do this for a 100 gold donation to his temple.

An aging Priest of Algor is brought to the ship under the guise of an additional blessing and tribute for the Stormlord as most all ships do when sailing the seas. When he arrives he is led below decks to where Valinya is while most of the sailors are busy loading and unloading cargo. He looks her over and makes a quiet blessing to his patron. He then prepares for a Body Reading spell to help him diagnose the specifics of the disease. After his casting he furrows his brow and looks around the room, concerned. “I am not predominantly a healer, but I know some things. My spell to read this Elf maid has failed. I will continue with the diagnosis but this will make healing her more difficult.” He asks many questions of the gathered companions and Valinya as he makes a thorough examination of her. Arn blushes and leaves the room when the Priest lifts Valinya’s shirt, exposing her chest.

“Ahh, yes,” he intones, “This is the Grey Pox. Nasty, wasting disease. Very potent. Can kill a strong man in less than a week if untreated. There are some herbal remedies that are known to soothe the symptoms, but unfortunately there are no natural cures for a disease such as this. Knowing what it is, I will have a good chance to cure it, but I warn you, I have but one shot at this, if I am unsuccessful, that means Algor has chosen to take this one back to the sea and I can do no more.” He begins moving around the room, moving things and setting up for his ritual. “This will take me some time and I would appreciate having a little space please,” he says, motioning toward the door.

After about 10 minutes, the wizened old Priest comes out of the door and nods his head. “The plague is gone, she will mend. Her strength will return in a few days and she should take it easy until then.” He holds up a small pouch, bulging with coins, “The maid herself gave me the coins, though she did not seem happy about it, complaining that she could have used her magic to cure the disease, though I highly doubt she could have been very effective casting any spells in her condition.” He bows at the gathered companions and smiles, “Is there anything else I can do for you? Otherwise, good Captain Tahir has asked me to perform a blessing on his ship.”

“Thank you for relieving her of that illness. Is there anything else you can tell us about the sickness before you go? How it is spread perhaps? or what that herbal treatment is? I fear we may be forced to fight against creatures like our last opponents again and would like to be more prepared.” After he is finished conversing with the priest the Ellyl will treat Valinya with a Major Healing spell so that she will be entirely healthy, if still a bit weaker than normal.

That completed he turns back to those of his team still in the tiny cabin. “So, do we have a plan for our arrival in Essanos? I’ve got some ideas on how to proceed but don’t recall reaching a final resolution on who in the group was doing what. I’d like to get that planned before we debark.”

Seeker ponders for a moment. “Well, let’s see. There’s an inn we could base out of. Near the docks but in a nicer section of town, called the Fox and Hound. When we land, Valinya, Silver and Arn try and make their way to the Vanderboren manor, see if they can determine this woman’s whereabouts. Fortis, you’ll be shadowing them, to provide backup and keep an eye out for anyone too interested in their activities. Meanwhile, Moonscar and I, being a lot more conspicuous, will see if we can connect with some of the rougher sorts, see what’s up there since I left. At the end of the day, we rendezvous at the inn and compare findings. Maybe if she’s feeling better, Val can try to update the Guardians as to the fate of Colwyn Dray using her magics.”

Cast of Characters: 

+Arne Jamtgaard plays Seeker, a Wolfen warlord
+Ben Zittere plays Fortis, an Ellyl trickster and mage
+Stephen Kolmetz plays Valinya, an Elven Wildsong Mage
+Mike Biancone plays Arn, a surly Dwarven warrior
+Amergin O'Kai plays Moonscar, the esoteric Kankoran Druid
+Daniel White plays Silver, a young and curious Dragon