2017-08-09

Grand Duchy 107

Grand Duchy of Adventure

Session 107
December 1-14, 2017


Pyrrhic Victory

Nytdain 8 Klarmont


Yea! We won?


Griffin gazes around the cavernous temple room. Draven bends over Iris, her lovely face starting to swell with her wound. Kasiex is up on his feet again, at least. The Hutaakan’s bravery was to be admired, charging in to grapple the mummy in hand-to-hand. Remar studies, working on learning magic to allow Griffin to remove the cursed ring that was slowly causing him to fade away. Marcel and Stephan look about in wonder at the terrible toll exacted on the Grey Company in such a short time.
“It’s going to take time, Iris, but we’re going to get you healed up. Just rest, and have a look at that spellbook. If we can figure out how to get Kifein out of her prison, that would salve our most lasting wound.”

Glancing over at Griffin, Draven approaches him. “Lie back, friend. You’re being slowly sapped by that ring and the more you move around the worse it could get.” Looking into Griffin’s face, Draven frowns. “This is moving… more quickly than I had hoped.”

“Remar, focus on the spell you’re learning now, whatever it is. We don’t have time for you to study until you can learn to break curses. As bad as my situation is, as my standing is with the gods, I’m going to have to ask them for more favors. I’m not sure Griffin has much more than an hour, maybe an hour and a half. Certainly not four hours.”

He smiles wryly. “Even if they do grant me the gift of curse breaking, I’m so spent, so out of tune with their will, that just breaking the curse may cause… unintended consequences. The times this has happened to me have been less than pleasant. Once I was visited with nightmares for a month. Another time, I lost my connection with the gods for a time and couldn’t cast any spells at all. And yet, less lucky priests have done far worse. Priests have cursed the ears off their own acolytes. Saint Astrocanthus the Merciful, first of his name, saved the lives of six mortally wounded men on the field of battle, and in exchange he was stricken blind forever.”

“And yet, if my choices are taking this risk or deliberately maiming a good friend… I think I take the risk.”

Kas moves slowly about the room. First sifting idly through the ragged remains left behind by the mummy after its dissolution with his bow, and then tracking back and forth across the room. A faint whine escapes his control as he sniffs, quietly desperate for any trace of air that might provide a hint of a path to the Speaker given into his care.

jackalmask.jpgWhile sifting through the remains of the Mummy Lord, Kasiex comes across the burnt and battered headdress that it had been wearing. Nothing else very solid remains in the pile of tattered rags, but the headdress seems in good shape still. It is old but solid and bears many trappings of Pflarr. The Wildsteward tucks the mask into his pack, hoping to take it back to Byxata. As he does so, he looks more closely at the head-gear and tries to remember when he saw the Mummy Lord wearing it. Weren’t these blue bands brighter, almost glowing? the Hutaakan thinks to himself and finishes packing it away.

“Brother,” the wizard replies without lifting his eyes from the tome he studies.  “Your stalwart dedication to your Gods, and to us your friends, is most admirable.  I can continue to study the spells set before me, but must endeavor to do so with great care.  I also cannot afford to make a mistake.  Such mistakes can have repercussions of their own as well, but affect more than just me.

If you are sure of the outcome - in how it is playing out - and sure that the best course is for you to also attempt to gain access to the power to remove curses...” Remar pauses a moment, and then continues, “Is there instead anything I can do now to help shield you from such malign effects as permanent blindness?  No offense brother, but a blind saint isn’t much better than a fingerless scoundrel.”

“I fear not, Remar. Were you to stand between me and the retribution the gods choose to mete, it would only transfer their wrath onto you, and I have far more fear for the state of your soul than my own.”

With that Draven breaks out the makeshift travelling shrine that he uses while out in the wilds and sets to preparing to plead with his patron that no justice lies in claiming the life, or the limbs, of a hero who has helped execute her will, no matter how his own folly might have brought him to such straits.

Griffin takes a ragged breath, coughs a deep hacking cough, then tries again. “Draven, Remar, that’s not how things are going to go. Remar studies and gets the magic we need to get me rid of this nasty little trinket. If you think I’m going to expire before he’s ready, we cut off my finger. No argument, there. That should solve the problem, right? Then we take our time getting you back in good with the gods, and THEN you work a blessing to grow my finger back. It’s something I think you have some familiarity with?” He hacks and spits. “I mean, it’s better if only one of us is annoying the divine at a time, right?”

“Easy, Griffin. Rest. Let’s see if the gods even deign to listen to my prayers first. If they deny me - they have been very lenient already - we have that last final option. But I’ll not see you suffer as I have, especially as we haven’t even determined if that ring will even let itself be parted from you so easily.”

“Ree, come, see to it that Griffin rests. We don’t need him exerting himself or working up into a lather and hastening the process along.”

Remar nods to Draven, shrugs at Griffin, and goes back to planting his nose in his studies.  He occasionally mumbles, gesticulates, and chuckles.  It is uncertain as to who he is directing these attentions as the pages of his tome turn.

As Kasiex circles the room, his ears flick as the humans speak to each other.  He pauses, clearly discomfited as Draven’s activity proves to be religious in nature.  He glances around the temple they’re in, sacred to his people, and squelches a growl as he approaches Draven’s travelling altar. In accented Traldar, he quietly says  “Sure and you don’t intend to offend, but is that right to do here, friend, in a house of Pflarr?”

“And just as certainly no intent to profane, but I feel certain that Pflarr would find good company alongside our own gods, as a defender of the good. They may not be friends, our divinities, but they need not be enemies, especially  when we have shared foes that deserve to endure our shared wrath”

“Not enemies, no. Hmmm…” The young Hutaakan shifts, grumbling quietly to himself and clearly uncomfortable and out of his depth.  After a long moment, he fishes in his gear, retrieving a small icon and a spare bit of strapping.  Winding the belt into a small stand, he places on it a plaque bearing a jackal-head with human eyes.  Kasiex murmurs softly in reverent Hutaak’a, then approaches Draven’s portable altar, clearly intending to place the object upon it as well, but pausing and looking to Draven for confirmation or objection before completing the action. “We give thanks to all of them, then?”

“Welcome, brother. Pflarr is surely welcome in the court of my gods.” Draven makes room for the new idol alongside his own.

If we can embrace the primitive heroes of the Traldarans, surely another vassal will be welcome in the court of the truth faith

The next hour or so is spent with half the group in quiet study or prayer and the other half setting up camp. Stephen and Marcel are a bit sour about the whole camping arrangements since they had just finished setting up camp outside when the rest of the Company came and got them to bring them back inside. The riding lizards were a bit difficult to bring inside; apparently the creatures are either not too fond of being inside such dwellings or the smell of roasted mummy was too strong for their noses.

Griffin sits out of most of the camp setting-up, which leaves most of the work to Stephen and Marcel, but the two jolly Traldarans get the work done with not much more than a strained smile. Griffin continues to feel utterly exhausted, but his condition does not progress as fast as it had initially. It seems to taper off a bit, though he is feeling, at best, at half his normal strength.

Revelations


Right about the time Draven rises from his deep, meditative prayers, Iris jumps up from the Tome of Elders and announces she has found the spell she needs to read to reverse the entombment of Kifein. She turns to Kasiex and shouts, “I save her!” in broken Hutaakan. Both Kasiex and Iris look surprised at her ability to speak some basic words in Hutaak’a.

Breathing a sigh of relief, Draven checks on Griffin. “How are you feeling? Do you think we can wait to see if we can rescue Kifein before we try my luck at getting that ring off your finger and into one of Remar’s hottest fires?”

‘E donna understand.  Break da curse, and keep it; it likely ‘as odda properties!

“But, how?  Do you would how to break a curse completely?” Remar says to himself.  He hears no reply to his inquiry.  “What are you not telling me?”

He looks across his book at the group near him.  “Draven, do you know of a way to shatter this foul curse entirely, assuming one even binds the ring itself, verses being granted the ability to temporarily remove it?  I’ve personally been driven for a while to discover a way to do such a thing permanently for such qualifying items.  In addition to keeping us safe from discovered items while adventuring, I’m specifically interested in those that contain benefits as well as afflictions, forever safeguarding against the affliction yet exposing the positive effects.”  Remar smiles briefly.  “I also am interested in learning how to Enchant items myself, though unless needed for some very special situation, they would be without afflictions.  Anyway, if we know a way to do this, and in fact the ring is the cause, and it contains beneficial magic as well, it could prove useful to our company.  I understand that Griffin is the first priority here, but I’d hate to melt something down that could have positive potential if we can thus cleanse it permanently. ”

“I can’t speak for your magic, but when a someone refers to a cursed divine object, the object has an enchantment on it that bestows the curse. What I aim to do is clear the curse on Griffin, not on the ring. It will remain befouled.”

Taking a deep breath he recommends that Griffin accompany him outside for the ritual itself. “I’d rather not bring the walls down on everyone if the gods grow tired of my constant begging for succor.”

Kasiex ears flag and focus on Iris. He walks quickly to her, the Staff of Pflarr grasped loosely in his left hand. “You speak Hutaak’a? Can you bring Kifein back now!? What must we do!?”

Griffin watches from where he reclines against the wall. “Brother, I seem to be all right for the moment. Let’s take things one at a time. Before you ask the gods yet another favor, Kifein might need your help. Let’s let Iris try her spell. If it is successful and Kifein is fine, she may be able to assist in further magicking.”

Grinning sheepishly at Kasiex, Iris replies, “I speak Hutaak’a little, much bad. I make trying soon, Kasiex.”  She looks worriedly at Griffin and Draven, then says in Thyatian, “I’ll make the attempt now.  Unless there are any surprises hiding with Kifein, this should be rather straight forward.  It will either work,” she frowns, “or it won’t.”  Iris cradles the tome in her hands and, despite herself, feels her face flush with excitement at the thought of calling forth such ancient magic.

Remar takes a break to watch Iris work her magic, quite literally!

An Old Friend Resurfaces


Standing near the spot where Kifein disappeared, Iris begins reading off the page, Ree helps her by holding the book up so she can use her hands to weave the intricate motions that go along with the spell. After what seems like forever, she staggers back. Clearly the spell, even when read from a book of magic, still takes its toll. Suddenly, in the very same spot she disappeared from, Kifein appears, thrust up out of the ground like a fast growing tree. She clasps her hands together as if trying to stop from dropping something, looks around in shock and adopts a defensive crouch. “What happened,” she squeaks out in Traldar.

“Speaker!” the hunter cries out in Hutaak’a, rushing to Kifein’s side from his position nearby the spellcasting.  Juggling the Staff of Pflarr, he reaches out to Kifein to raise her up out of her crouch.  “The creature cast some ill spell, banishing you into the rock.  These stalwart allies vanquished the beast, and the learned one there” he gestures to Iris “worked a spell from the Tome and returned you to us. Are you well, Speaker?” Kasiex regards Kifein anxiously, visually checking her for wounds or ill effect from her sojourn in the stone.

Griffin grins as he sees the Hutaakan priestess reappear. Good, good, check that off the list. He catches Iris’ eye and gives her a smiling nod and a thumbs-up. “Good job. I had faith you could pull that off.” His good spirits falter as he coughs again.

*hack* Okay, so what else is on the list? Get this gods-be-damned ring off my finger. Check out the rest of this place for any more loot.

He eyes the old priestess. She may recognize this ring. I’ll have to come up with a story in case she does. ‘The curse made me steal it?’ Sounds plausible. Could be leveraged for anything else she notices. Have to remember to act disoriented when(?) I get it off. Griffin eyes the ring on his finger. Yea, that has potential. ‘I was cursed, officer!’ He smiles a small, secret smile.

Iris beams at Griffin then turns to Ree and carefully retrieves the ancient tome from her companion.  I sense that Kifein wants this back, but I imagine she would feel uncomfortable and anxious about asking for it.  Walking carefully over to the priestess, she reverently places the massive book in her arms. “We are all glad, and relieved, to see you again, Kifein.  We kept the tome safe for you, though I had to use a spell from it to free you,” she says in Traldar as she takes a few steps back.

She nods at Iris and smiles. “Thank you for saving me, without your help, ALL of this knowledge would still be lost, losing one spell from it is a fair trade, I should think.” Kifein puts a clawed hand on Iris’s shoulder and squeezes it, maybe just a little too hard for Iris’s liking.

“It’s good to see you well, Kifein. I think we all feared that that abomination had done something far more permanent than it had.

Turning to Griffin, he continues. “And now, no more excuses. Let’s get you freed from that curse.”

Remar Speaks up from behind his book, “Draven, perhaps if Kifein is well, she can try and address Griffin’s issue instead of you putting all the burden on yourself.  I mean, you did have a Hutaakan idol out on your stand earlier.  Maybe it was actually...what do you call it?”  He pauses for a moment and then continues.  “Oh yeah, thanks.  A ‘sign’.”

“Of course, if it can happen, but I fear it requires the same magic that would have been of use in curing Kasiex’s mummy rot.”

Kifein comes over at the mention of her name and is explained the situation regarding the curse and the ring. She gazes suspiciously at the ring and at Griffin then states that she does not have the power to remove curses, but Kfordez back at Byxata can do it.
Draven shakes his head. “It’s as I feared - Griffin does not have enough time left for that, nor even to wait for morning to lessen the wrath of my deities if I should overstep my bounds. Thankfully the punishment typically falls to the priest, not the recipient of the magic, so I shouldn’t be putting you in any further harms way, Griffin, with my efforts. Shall we step outside and see if we can’t free you from that curse?”

As he turns to head toward the doors, he asks “and by the way, does anyone have a glove or gauntlet I may use? I don’t wish to touch the accursed ring and find myself similarly afflicted…”

A worried expression crosses Iris’ swollen features as Griffin succumbs to another fit of coughing.  A wave of guilt ties her stomach in knots once more as she ponders her involvement in his current plight.  She takes a few halting steps over to Draven, glances once more at Griffin, and impulsively hugs the young priest.  “Best of luck,” she chokes out awkwardly and wraps her arms around herself.

Griffin slides to his feet and shuffles after Draven. He averts his gaze as he passes Kifein. He tries a grin and asks, “Um, so, how soon do you think it’ll take before I recover, doc?” Griffin watches the young priest carefully as he performs his ritual, hoping to be able to help should some calamity befall him.

Kasiex waits for an opportune moment, then takes Kifein a few paces away; he asks if Kifein wishes to take the Staff of Pflarr with them to Byxata, or if it should remain here in the Vault.  After a few moments, he also admits that he has the Mummy Lord’s headdress/mask, and asks if it, too, should remain here, or if it might be of some use in their future tasks, and if there is anything else in the vault they should recover before leaving.

Kifein looks at the artifacts then over to the fallen Mummy Lord and tells Kasiex that they should be brought back to Byxata and given to Kforedz for safe keeping. “The Vault is where they belong, but until we can make sure the vault is clear and sanctified, they should be with the High Priestess,” she explains.

Removing the Cursed Ring


Everyone then follows Draven and Griffin outside to bear witness to the removing of the cursed ring. Careful to watch out for any roaming undead that may have wandered back into the area, the group gathers on the rocky ledge under the dark, cloudy night sky. A few folk hold up torches to light way because the half-moon only occasionally peeks out from behind the many dark clouds. The stone ground is damp, but the rain from earlier has stopped. Draven kneels and indicates for Griffin to sit before him. Draven looks at those gathered, “This is going to take a while, I’d appreciate any who want to watch to keep an eye out for any distractions or dangers,” he nods his head to the wild mountainside around them.

Kas,weakened but trying, takes a position with the other guards, bow and arrows at the ready.

“Alright then Brother.”  The Alphatian mage says.  “I’ll leave Griffin with you and in the capable hands of the Gods.”

No sense distracting him out here with my errant jibber-jabber.

Stop talkin’ ta yerself den, Rema.

“I’ll get back to studying nearby.  Please holler if I can help with any...surprises.  I’ll keep an ear bent”

As he turns to head back, he sees Kasiex wince while trying his bow.  Remar frowns.  “Iris, would you mind telling Kasiex, and anyone else that may still be injured, to come see me back inside?  It’d only take a few seconds if it takes.  I’ve recharged my energy reserves, and there’s a decent chance I can provide more aid for anyone that needs it, as long as it doesn’t involve curses just yet.  I should be able to help with that in about 3 hours or so.”  He looks at the stoic jackalman, then looks back to Iris and winks with a nod in Kasiex’s direction.  “That way warriors like Kasiex can be at their best while overseeing the protection of the others.”

And with that, Remar heads back inside to await any injured and return to his studies.

Iris holds a hand up to Kasiex as if to say, "one moment," and hurries into the ruins after the perplexing Alphatian.

After they've gone a ways into the structure, but before they can catch back up to Marcel and Stephen, Iris gently grips the mage's arm and pulls him to a stop. "Remar, can I talk to you?" Seeing the shocked looked on his face, she abruptly releases him and continues, "I---I'm sorry---I shouldn't have grabbed you.  Are you," she pauses, searching for words, "alright?  I...I wanted to apologize for the things I said to you earlier. I have no excuse; it was rude and wrong of me.” Concern lines her features as she awaits Remar’s response.

Remar’s look shifts to a mask of confusion.  “You...you said something to me?  What and when was it, exactly?”

Oh boy. Iris averts her gaze and plucks at a loose thread on her clothing.  She begins to speak, stops, sighs, and says, “I called you crazy. After you finished off the Mummy Lord.  Which was completely unfair of me, of course!” Iris bites her lip then says, “I can tell something isn’t right...I imagine we all can.  I just, I didn’t want to ask you in front of everyone.”

“Oh.  That.”  Remar uncomfortably looks left, then right, and finally settles on sweeping at an imagined stain on his robe.  “Um.  Uh.  Well.  You see.”

Yea, tell ‘er ya inna crazy.  Ya just ‘ave a piece of another mage’s soul inya.  Imma sure that’ll make tings, right as rain!  Hahaha...

He stops fiddling with his robe, looks back at Iris, and then sighs deeply.  “Thank you for catching me one on one, Iris.  It’s a long story, though.  You wouldn’t believe me even if I told you.”  He looks her up and down, and then realizing how that just looked, blushes. “Um...I, uh...was checking just there to see if you still have any injuries I could...uh...help with.  Sorry; I didn’t mean for that to look, uh…”

Iris' eyes widen in shock and she blushes furiously.  "Injuries. Right. Just---just my face."  Iris looks away and clears her throat, clearly composing herself.  "Whatever's going on, I promise to listen with an open mind." She looks him directly in the eyes and holds his gaze, "Remar, I want to help."

“I appreciate that Iris.”  Remar says, and then flashes a brief smile.  “Maybe I’ll take you up on that during our journey back.  But for now, if no one is still physically injured and needing me to see to them, I must get back to my studies so that I can ultimately take care of you and Kasiex’s affliction.”  He turns to go, pauses, and speaks over his shoulder, again with a smile.  “Oh, and don’t worry too much about me, Iris.  This crazy-person’s held it fairly together this long, after all.”  The Wizard heads off to his spot, situates himself, and picks back up where he left off.
Remar returns to his studying

Iris grimaces at the phrase, "crazy person," then says softly "as you wish," as Remar returns to the campsite. After a few moments she shakes her head and walks back to the entrance of the Vault.

Not wishing to disturb Draven's concentration, Iris walks quietly up to Kasiex and whispers in horribly accented Hutaak'a, "You hurt? Kifein hurt?" She gestures to the Vault's entrance, "Remar fix hurts now." She looks up at Kasiex with a questioning expression on her face, uncomfortable at her blunt use of his native language, but certain he feels the same about conversing in Traldar.

Kasiex’ shakes his head, speaking slowly and clearly for Iris’ benefit.  “Are you hurt? Is Kifein hurt?” he corrects her, gently.  “Some hurt.  My wounds ache, and I am very tired.  But Remar should save his power - we have deeper wounds, you and I.” He motions to his back, and the wounds on her face.  “All will be well for the moment. Thank you.”

Draven bows his head, grasps his glowing holy symbol and begins chanting. Griffin sits restlessly before the young priest and waits. The entire ceremony lasts an hour and finally, when he completes his ritual, the ring slides from Griffin’s finger and clatters onto the hard, wet stone, spinning for a moment before falling to rest with a quiet ringing sound.

Griffin stands and flexes his arm and fingers then bends over in a fit of coughing. He still looks and feels weakened. Draven stands and everyone around stares down at the ring sitting on the ground, the glittering green gemstone eyes of the cat staring back up at them.
“Speaker…” the young scout says to Kifein in Hutaak’a, while gesturing at the ring “what manner of artifact is that? Should we take it to Kforedz as well?”

The Hutaakan priestess eyes the ring on the ground. “Yes, we should take this back to Kforedz, but I am loathe to touch it. We should not leave it out here though, in the elements. It was catalogued with the Knowledge of Elders, it must be of some importance, though I cannot fathom what such a cursed item would be good for,” she says in their language.

Griffin is glad to be done with the cursed ring
Griffin tries to straighten up after his coughing fit. He spits a large glob of phlegm on the ring. Damned thing. Sneaking onto my finger! We should melt you down or break you into shards.

He turns and gives a nod to the young priest. “My thanks, Brother. Although, to be honest, and with no reflection on your fine efforts, I still feel like crap.”

He grins and claps Draven on the shoulder. “But enough about me. Have you suffered for your actions? Did you incur any ire from our gods?”

Draven nods silently at Griffin as if to say “all is good” then turns and heads back inside as a light rain begins to fall from the dark sky. Griffin and the others follow him in. After clearing his throat and spitting, Griffin feels remarkably better, at least cough wise. He is still weak and it feels like his clothing is made of lead, weighing him down.

Using a recovered metal bar, much like the one Kasiex had previously used for a weapon, Kifein scoots the ring back inside, being careful not to lose it in one of the many cracks in the stone floor. Eventually, she manages to hook the ring on the end of the pole and gets it inside, placing it in the corner of the room, away from everyone else so they are not tempted to examine it and run afoul of its curse.

The outer doors are again closed and an interior door is opened to prevent any other doors from being opened. The Grey Company, all mentally, if not physically exhausted by the long and eventful day, decides to call it a night, except for Remar, who stays up for several more hours to finish learning some new spells. Knowing everyone will need some extra sleep, Stephen and Marcel take the majority of the watches and no one else really complains. Griffin struggles with sleeping and wakes up frequently for no apparent reason. Iris and Kasiex both have trouble with getting comfortable, their mummy rot infected wounds itching and keeping them awake a bit. Remar’s head is too full of new spells and even though the others allow him to sleep in, he is restless as well.


Loshdain 9 Klarmont

A Blustery Day


The next morning it becomes quite evident that it was a good idea to bring the camp inside as one quick peek outside reveals a raging storm assaulting the mountainside. The sky is nearly as black as it was the previous night at midnight, rain is falling in thick sheets and the wind is strong enough to blow someone right off the side of the mountain. When Griffin finally pulls himself out of bed, he finds that his strength has returned and his cough is gone. Stephen announces that there is no way the Company could make it down the side of the mountain given the dire weather outside, much less begin the long trek back across the valley so the group agrees to remain camped in the Vault of Elders. Draven and Remar do some minor healing on the Company, making sure everyone is back up to full strength. As everyone is sitting around, eating some biscuits drinking coffee, Remar realizes that his knife had recently stopped glowing. Marcel mentions that his shield also stopped glowing sometime during the previous evening, but was ok if Draven did not want to spend the energy imbuing with divine light again.

“That’s definitely for the best. Even with my recent prayers in thanks, the risk is great of offending them for my foolish insistence on using their gifts without proper consideration. Even the healing magic is dangerous right now. I need another day, maybe two, before I’ll be ready to start re-illuminating things.” He places his own holy symbol, bright as day, out in the open. “This will help beat back the gloom in here, no matter how the rest of our lights may fare.”

The rain comes down in such volume, it sounds like sizzling.  Thunder peels outside and rattles through the vault.  Remar listens to the sounds seemingly made louder by their camp near the top of the heavens.  The combination, he imagines, sounding like that of a forge-God working his craft.  As Remar begins to wonder whether Draven meant that his actions would have ‘literal’ repercussions versus ‘figurative’ ones, his thoughts are interrupted.

Dunna ya tink it be time ta flex dat new sorcery, tha Rema’?

Remar takes a calming breath.

Well not da burninatin’ stuff you generally like, but the one ta manipulate the curses on da lass and da dug, ye ken?

Remar stands up smiling and looks around at everyone.  His eyes stop on both Iris and Kasiex.

Ello?  What?  Ya ignorin’ me, now?  Dunna tink tha’s gunna werk.  I’ll still be watchin’, waitin’, and ready ta give ya pointers da next time ya can’t take da heat, Rema...or should I say, da Darkness?

“Well, as we have the extra time here, I can try the other part of removing that affliction now.  Iris, I’ll start with you.  I imagine Kasiex would protest if I tried to start with him first, anyway.  Much as it did with Draven and Griffin, this’ll take about an hour’s time, but at the end I’ll be severely fatigued and need some time to recover.  After I finish, Kifein may need to attempt her magic to remove disease once again to make it complete, but I’m not sure.  I’d recommend she be ready by that point and do it just to be safe, but we can play that part by ear.  If you are ready, would you mind letting her and Kas know and the we can begin.”

Iris looks up blearily from her coffee and smiles a tired smile.  "You've learned that already?  That's...amazing, really.  Did you even sleep last night?" She jokes.  Iris lifts her unopened grimoire from her lap and returns it to her pack, then twists to look at Kasiex and Kifein, quietly conversing on their own.  She clears her throat and begins in Hutaak'a, "Great morning to you."  She gestures at Remar, then her face, and lastly to Kasiex. "Remar want to work my face now; he take long time.  Then you."  She effects an apologetic expression, then continues in Traldar, "I apologize for brutalizing your language, Kifein.  After he's tried clearing me of the curse, Remar asks that you be prepared to try to remove this disease, but he's not certain if that will be necessary or not.  He thinks it should take about an hour, and that he'll be spent afterward."

Good morning” Kas corrects her Hutaak’a, tongue lolling in a canine smile. “Y’ain’t doin’ too bad with t’conversatin’, Miss Iris.  We’ll keep workin’ on it, iff’n that’s of interest to ya.” He speaks in fluent Traldar, but his deepwoods accent makes it difficult to process at times. His words sound markedly different than the erudite tone of Kifein’s Traldar.  “You make fix Thyatian mine?” he rasps, unfamiliar words coming with difficulty from his throat.

Good morning,” Iris repeats, practicing her Hutaak’a.  She smiles at Kasiex’s accented Traldar and Thyatian, immediately more comfortable with her own attempts at his language.  “Will you help me learn Thyatian,” she says in her own tongue.  Then in Traldar, “Absolutely!  I have a fondness for learning new languages;  this should be fun!”  

“We two help speak,” she says in halting Hutaak’a.

Standing and brushing herself off, Iris walks toward Remar and nervously twirls her hair. Again, in Thyatian, she says, "I'm ready...is there anything you need me to do?"

“Well, we’ll need to find someplace comfortable first, since this is going to take a while.  I’m also going to want to do nothing but eat and sleep afterward, so I guess we can do it over by our sleeping bags and the fire.  Once we’re all ready to begin, I just need for you to lie back and relax, anyway.  Is Kifein OK with jumping in after I finish?  I mean, I’m not sure if Draven is up to such a task after getting so spent from Griffin’s needs.”

Remar and Iris find a comfortable spot near the bedrolls to do their work. Kifein is summoned over but then explains that she is unable to assist with the healing of the Mummy Rot because she does not possess that level of divine imbuement. “Draven with one hand knows that magic, though,” she reminds them.

“Well,” Remar says after listening to Iris translate that info back into Thyatian and watching her face fall.  “That certainly kills the mood.  I...I apologize, Iris.  And Kasiex.”  The Mage looks at both with a pained and frustrated expression on his face.  “I don’t know how to magically remove a disease.  I fear you both may have to bare this burden until we are back at Byxata before Kforedz or Draven, if recovered by then, can perform their portion of the magic after I have done my part.”

Ya know, tha Rema’, I know tha’ spell yer missin’

Remar bites his lip noticeably and closes his eyes for a moment.  He opens his eyes, releases his lip, and takes a deep breath before continuing.  “Iris, Kifein, how would I say that in Traldar or even Hutaak’a?  I want to tell Kasiex myself, but don’t want to muddy the words.”

Iris self-consciously touches her face and sighs, then begins whispering to Remar, phrase by phrase, the correct syntax in Traldar to convey his meaning.  After he's finished repeating the last bit, she tells him, "Thank you for working so hard to learn this magic for the two of us.  I admit, I am disappointed to learn I'll be carrying this ugly, itching wound for a while longer, but you have brought us that much closer to being rid of this foulness."

Remar listens with his head hung, seemingly looking at his feet.  He closes his eyes and nods when she finishes her words.  “Not close enough to suite me, though.  Rest assured; I’ll endeavor to learn what more I can to provide better support to you all.”

Kas rumbles deep in his chest, tail slightly wagging in what is either the Hutaakani version of a chuckle, or possibly indigestion.  Slowly, so Iris can translate back into Thyatian, he speaks in Traldar “Naw we t’ones owes you, hoss.  Bendin’ your learnin’ just to fix us, you’re a good’un.”  In Thyatian, he tries on his own “No make-right-word need.  Give it to you good big in future, we must.”

“Uh,” Remar looks back up with his hands held palms out-front as he replies in Thyatian.  “No need to, uh...worry about the need to do that.

Dunna say it!  It’ll bite ye in da arse.

“It’s my duty and my pleasure to help.”

Griffin watches as the team starts the process of pulling itself together. Dang curse magic. We need to do something about that ring. Can’t just leave it lying about. Speaking of which, where is it?

He looks around and finds Ree, lounging against a far wall, separate from the group, yet still a part. He wanders over, casually, not looking at her, like he always has. He leans back next to her, so they’re both looking out across the room.

Before he can speak, she asks, “You okay? You’ve been looking terrible.”

He’s a bit surprised. Well, she has been growing up a bit since we left Penhaligion. He chuckles, “Yea, I’ve been feeling terrible. Magic curses suck. But Draven and the gods have me right as rain again.” He mulls something over for a second. “Thanks for asking.”

She sniffs, then shrugs. “So, what next? Back to the dog-men camp?”

He looks around. “Well, I think we should find a way to put that ring back where it came from. It might serve as some sort of trick to throw at our enemies, but it’s got some nasty mind control stuff on it.” He gives her a sideways look. “You do know I would never just put on some weird unidentified magic thingy without checking with you first, right?”

She snorts, “It seemed pretty stupid, even for you.” He winces, recalling the foggy memories of slipping the ring onto his finger.

They stand quietly for a while. Griffin has managed to produce a few hard rolls from the food stores. He hands one to Ree, then starts pulling his apart and chewing.

He clears his throat. “So, did I miss anything?”

She points over her shoulder towards the inner chamber. “There’s a couple of doors we haven’t checked out yet. I left ‘em alone for now.”

He brightens up. “Really? Can you show me? Everyone else seems busy at the moment.”

Griffin and Ree make their way back into the main temple room.

107a.jpg

More Doors


“Which door should we check out first? And won’t we need to close those two main doors before we can open one of these interior doors, if that silly door opening and closing pattern applies in here as well?” the young Elf girl asks Griffin.

Griffin shrugs. “Let’s try the one on the left first. That way we’ll find out if that silly door rule applies.” He raises his voice to pitch across the room to the rest of the team. “Hey, folks, Ree and I are going to check out the doors in here. There may be opening and closing of other doors. If anyone would care to be in here if we have to close the big doors, now’s the time. But it’s okay if you don’t - I think we’ll be fine.” He points to the door on the left and says to his friend, “Shall we?”

Hefting his club, Kas looks to Kifein for direction, grimacing at the memory of how ineffectual his bow was.

Seeing Kasiex looking for confirmation, Kifein nods in the direction Griffin and Iris are heading. “Since we are here, and not going anywhere for the time being, I think we should at least explore the rest of the Vault. To make sure there are no further threats at the very least. You go, I will stay here at the camp.”

“Well, Iris, if Kasiex is going, do you feel up to it as well?  There may be some neat stuff in there that appeals to your interests,” Remar says.

And hopefully, mine too.  Magical or shiny without curses would be prefered.

Mine three!

Again at regular speaking volume, he continues.  “If not, I understand.  I’m going to head in to provide cover and support.”

Iris tucks her chin slightly as a supremely guilty look flits across her face. She glances at Remar briefly and just as quickly looks away. "I'd, uh, be glad to provide support; I'm not sure there's anything in here that I'd be interested in taking," Iris chuckles nervously,  "Since it belongs here, um, you know."  She moves quickly to her bedroll and buckles on her belt and saber.  Iris straightens her clothing and puffs out her cheeks, blowing out a breath between compressed lips.  Raising her brows at the mage, she nods her head in Griffin's direction and calls out, "We're ready; be right there!"

To Iris, Remar says, “Oh no, of course I meant that by the sounds of that storm, we’ll be in here for a day or two, so you may have time to really look at anything neat you find that interests you.”  He gives her a sly wink, turns and heads toward the other room.  “Do you all want me to put up any magical protections for you all before you go in there?”  Remar calls ahead as he heads over.  Arriving in the other chamber and already assessing it for a places to provide him cover he adds, “If so, any specific requests, or dealer’s choice?”

Everyone that is going to follow Griffin and Ree gather in the inner temple while the others remain in the camp area. The door to the south is checked and no traps appear to be present. Griffin, with assistance from Kasiex, move to open the door. As somewhat expected, it does not budge with the main double doors open.




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 Umerusan Alphatian battle mage that escaped forced service in the Thyatian army currently marshalled by +Patrick Kelly 

Iris Vardaa 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






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