September 30 - October 3, 2016
The Knowledge of Elders is Found
Nytdain 8 Klarmont
The Tome Recovered
The Grey Company has accomplished what they have come to do. They have recovered the ancient Hutaakan tome, the Knowledge of the Elders. But now what? The book, large and weighing at least 20 pounds, seems delicate and may prove to be difficult to transport and Draven has proclaimed a great evil present in the Vault that must be destroyed.
Griffin, Draven, Iris and Kifein are all in the upper vault, where the tome was located while Remar, Kasiex and Ree remain in the lower vault, some 15 feet below. Both rooms are finely decorated and filled with many valuable things, some of which have ended up in Griffin’s pocket, unbeknownst to all but Iris. A black and silver ring that Iris detected as magical and a finely wrought necklace designed like a stylized peacock.
Oooo, shiny. Griffin pauses. Draven might not approve. Better he doesn’t know. He grins. Yet. He slides the necklace and ring into his pouch. He gives Iris a wink to let her know that he’s not unaware that she knows about them as well.
Kasiex maintains his guard position in the lower vault, idly looking at the history of his people laid out before him as he keeps eyes, ears, and nose wary for anything approaching the Company and Kifein.
“While I know that this is what we came for, we simply can not leave without finding the source of the darkness that sits on my heart in this place. I reiterate, it’s nothing to do with this book or anything else of the conventional Hutaakan practices.” He looks around, grim of expression. “I fear we, or at least I and any who are hearty enough to follow, will need to breach the double doors upstairs.”
Kas listens to Kifein’s translation of Draven’s words. “I will stand with you in this, Priest. Perhaps we should escort the scholars to your companions outside, to ensure they and the book make their way back home?” Here, he nods at Kifein and sort of half-includes Iris, thrown a bit by the contrast between her studies mien and flaming saber.
“Well said, though I suspect most will want to join in. We will surely want to bring Marcel back inside as well. He has a stout heart and stouter arms with which to help vanquish whatever we find inside here.” He frowns, considering just what could be inside the vault that would leave such a blemish.
Iris addresses Draven, “If you say this must be vanquished now, then of course you have my support. I find myself sombered by the thought that you’ve never felt such an evil before.”
Draven, Kifein and Iris hang in the upper doorway, speaking down to Kasiex and the others while Griffin continues to look around the room, casually cataloging its contents. A large and finely crafted but very aged wall hanging depicting Hutaakan crafting. A dark wood sideboard table with 3 small, circular metal containers and a pile of detritus that was probably some sort of fabric. An old writing kit lays open on another shelf next to a nearly decomposed stack of parchment. A small, fragile looking container sits next to the parchment. Two large metal pots sit on the floor, their bottoms filled with some black remains of organic matter, be probably plants. The remains of a plush chair or stool sits near the center of the room, its covering completely destroyed and its stuffing no more than dried lumps on the floor.
Hmmm, too big. Too ruined. Wait, those look interesting. The writing kit could be of value, or something Iris might appreciate anyways. And what’s this? Inkwell maybe? That goes in the pouch, too. Nice woodworking, but too bulky. Those on the other hand. Griffin pauses to check out the containers on the sideboard.
Griffin takes up the writing kit, folding the leather cover over but the dried old material rips then crumbles in his hands, dropping the contents to the stone floor in a clatter. Draven, Iris and Kifein in all turn to look in his direction. Griffin thinks he feels his cheeks redden as he imagines the Hutaakan priestess glaring at him. He quickly picks the dropped items up and places them back on the table. The other three turn back to their conversation.
Undeterred by the notice of Kifein, Griffin continues to look at the other items he has deemed interesting. He grabs the nearest of the three and checks it out. It feels solid and well made with a removable top. It is made of some type of yellow metal, possibly gold or brass, but heavily corroded. He can see what looks to be intricate etchings in the surface but they are very concealed by the leavings of time. He scratches it with a fingernail to try to make a better determination of what type of metal it is, but realizes it will take a thorough cleaning to know for sure. He tries to remove the lid but it is also corroded in place. Gripping it tighter, he turns it, eventually rewarded with a satisfying, grinding twist of the lid and it pops off in his hands. A dark yellow cloud puffs out of the container and covers him, burning his face and skin where it touches him.
Griffin gags and wipes off the pollen or dust or whatever it was. “*ack* Okay, that’s just nasty…” He feels the eyes of the priests return to him in his distress. “What?”
The priestess speaks to him in Traldar, “Those are artifacts of my people, religious tools. Please leave them be. Thank you.” She bows and turns back to the conversation with Draven. Iris looks at Griffin and makes a face while swallowing hard. Looking down at his own clothing, Griffin sees that the yellow powder has covered him. He tries to brush it off with a gloved hand but finds that it is quite sticky. It also smells bad, like when “Mother” would forget to take a batch of sticky buns out of the oven and they would burn. It was a nasty, lingering type of smell that seemed to stick around all day. Glancing into the container that is still in his hands, he sees the bottom of it covered in a dried out, black and yellow mass, whatever contents it had previously contained now ruined by time and cemented into the bottom of the bowl. He suspiciously eyes the other two containers, wondering if they contain similar dangers. His gaze then drifts to the small lacquered box nearby. It is small, it would fit in the palm of his hand, not much bigger than a large knife handle.
“Okay, okay, I’m putting it back.” The container clatters as he returns it to the shelf and he places the lid back on it, without closing it. As his hand passes over the lacquered box, it vanishes up his sleeve. I’ll secure you when I get somewhere a little less crowded. And hey, it’s that blasted powder’s fault if I have ‘sticky fingers.’
Oh what was I thinking! Poor Kifein. With everything she's trusted us with…and then I helped---no, encouraged! Suggested, even, that Griffin pocket the ring. Iris hangs her head slightly and makes an effort to keep her guilty feelings off of her face.
An Exit Strategy
Anxious to continue the work, Draven addresses Kifein. “You and Kasiex are the best representatives here to say what should return with you to your village fortress. The more we take, the slower our going might become and the greater the risk that misfortune might cause damage to the artifacts of your people. There is some chance that in defeating the greater evil that has housed itself here will allow us to open this place and bring your people back here, at least some few of them. Maybe we should come back for the bulk of these goods after we’ve completed our cleansing?”
Kifein nods her canine head in agreement, “All of this is the history of my people, our culture, our faith, our daily lives. It should remain here, but until we have a better way to access it, I think it should be brought back to Byxata for safe keeping. The logistics of this, though, I am unsure of. Our first priority is to return this book to Kforedz so she can figure out a solution to our bigger problem. And if you believe there to be great evil here, we should vanquish that before leaving!”
Griffin returns from his wanderings. It is apparent he has been listening to the conversation. He clears his throat. “Okay, I think we’ve all come to the same place. Let’s get this caravan moving.” He gestures to Iris. “First, the four of us need to get down there, with the book. Perhaps you or Draven, with your magics, can carry it the most carefully. We can come back and explore some more later.”
“Then we escort Kifein out, and bring Marcel in. Do all the door-shuffling we need to make that happen. If we’re not out by dawn, the two of them can get the book back to her people.”
“Brother, we’ve checked out everywhere except the big double-doors. So that’s where the Big Evil must be. Get down from here and get ready - if the opposition here is anything like the one at the other temple, we will have our work cut out for us.”
A rumble of concern and displeasure echoes from the Wildstewards chest. “I would not leave Kifein to the night with only a single guard, friends. Perhaps Ree or one of the others would stand watch over her, or escort her down the mountain with Stephen?
Or we could secure the front room. Once the doors are closed, I would think they would be safe there” here, he turns to Kifein “if that pleases you, Mistress. Say the word, and I will see you back to Kforedz myself with all haste.”
And with that, Griffin swings out through the door and commences to scramble back down the wall to the floor below.
Iris looks as though she was trying to get Griffin's attention before he leaves the room, then awkwardly turns the reaching gesture to brushing off her clothing. Looking around, she waves to Kifein. Finding that she's unable to meet her eyes, Iris looks at her own feet, saying, “how about we wrap the tome in my cloak and carry it by hand? If we lift it together I think we should be able to package it in a way that stabilizes the bindings.”
Remar, listening to the parts of the conversation passing back and forth from the lower to the upper room that he can understand offers, “So did you all want me to continue maintaining the levitation on Kifien while she carries the book like we were discussing a while back? I think I can do so and still let her walk as well if she wants, only using it to move her out of harm’s way if such a thing should come up. I assure you that it wouldn’t really be bothersome to me since I am already concentrating on the spell, even with all these others ongoing.” He chuckles.
Are ye showin’ off Rema? Ya’r aren’t ye? I’m so proud o’ye Rema. See, I’ve already ‘elped ye come a fair ways since ye were just content as a beast o’ burden.
Then the mage seems to continue but turns his head toward one of the lower room’s corners. “I’m not trying to show off and I don’t need your approval either. I’m only trying to help.”
Turning back, he sees Griffin coming back down and steps back out of the way. “Oh, um...hi Griffin.”
As Griffin climbs down, Draven cocks his head to the side and peers around. “I have felt the great evil aura lifted from this area,” he says in Thyatian. He walks around the room and nods, “Yes, it is gone. I can no longer feel it. I can still sense that this place is holy to Pflarr and its worshippers, but the other that I had sensed is now gone.”
After carefully wrapping the tome up in Iris’s cloak, her and Kifein carefully fly back down to the other secret room. Kifien gives Iris thanks and states that she will be in charge of the book. “If I move slowly and keep it tightly wrapped, it should be ok, but I would like to avoid fighting if possible. Maybe we could hide it in one of the other rooms until we deal with this great evil or like you said, I could wait outside with the other two. I should be safe enough with both of them.
Nimbly reaching the floor, Griffin looks back up at Draven. “Does this mean we can leave? Or do you still want us to open the double-doors and investigate that room?”
He pauses, then looks over the team and the abandoned temple. “Cause if it’s all the same to you guys, I would say that we get Kifein outside with Stephan and Marcel, then finish our search, so we don’t have to ever come back here, okay?”
“You don't think that...erm...evil Draven was sensing is the type that would snatch Kiefin and this book up once we take her outside, do you, guys?” Remar inquires.
Cast of Characters:Garrett "Griffin" Constantine, a Thyatian rogue of a gambler from Penhaligon rolled by +Arne Jamtgaard
Draven Rickart, a Thyatian Acolyte of the Church of Karameikos ministered by +Jason Packer with help from +Patrick Burke
Remar Umerus, an Alphatian battle mage that escaped forced service in the Thyatian army currently marshalled by +Patrick Kelly
Iris Varda, a Thyatian explorer and historian searching for answers and adventure, now guided by +Stephanie Kelly
Kasiex, a Hutaakan Wildsteward used to ranging the mountains and valleys now led down a new path by +Patrick Burke
and +Jason Woollard as The DM