Sundered Lands 54

The Sundered Lands of Palladium

Session 54
May 22 - June 3, 2017

Making New Friends

Tuesday October 31


Getting to Know Erred

Everyone stands around while they catch their breath. Moonscar is still drying out from his near drowning experience and Silver is almost glowing in the feeble light of Seeker’s enchanted ears while speaking to Erred in Draconic. Everyone else is contemplating what to do next. Where to go? Where has Vanthus gotten off to? Where is the Black Pearl?

Seeing that the team is in a relatively safe posture, and that it might be good to let Moonscar catch his breath, Seeker looks around for something to keep the team using their time productively. “Um, Val, maybe while we have a few minutes you could use your magic to check out the bodies here, try to learn more about what did this to them?” He looks around. “I’d suggest perhaps a pyre, but the sheer number of cursed bodies, including those two big lizards, I think makes that prohibitive.”

“Hmm. I think my best spell would be a divination but that takes an hour or so. I’m not sure of the value of that information at this moment but … if this disease is somehow connected to Vanthus I would suspect the Black Pearl as a source. In that case it may be very helpful. I may have to be above ground to do that as I usually am. I could do a spell to watch what happened here but I’m not sure it will tell us why or how it happened, only give a gruesome vision of it happening. So I think we should finish our exploration here, including the trapped area, then go up to rest and seek further guidance.”

While the Kankoran rests he roots through his pack a bit making sure that his gear is okay. “Good thing I keep the hides well oiled.” He digs out a waterskin and a leather pouch saying, “Nothing makes you hungrier than a near death experience!” As he grabs some jerky from the pouch he looks over at Erred suddenly. “Oh crap, I guess you must be pretty starved then.” Holding the pouch up he calls out and says in Danzi, “Hey Erred, food.”

Erred smiles and readily accepts the food from Moonscar. The Druid is unsure if Erred recognized his words or was just hungry enough to accept dried meat from a wet Canine. The boy devours it in one long mouthful.

While waiting for everyone to start moving again, Silver keeps an eye on the water, but continues to chat with Erred in Draconic.

Erred and Silver converse while the young man eats.

The sight of Moonscar and Erred eating causes Gorg's mouth to start watering. He plops himself on the ground off to the side of the group, propped against a wall, and digs through his pack looking for snacks. A few moments later he says to the group, through a mouthful of what appears to have been a rabbit, "I think we need to head back and find the source of that weird mind-hurting thing...and destroy it."

Seeker nods. “I agree that that was intriguing, but I’m not sure how to do anything about that. Arn, you were in there. Did it keep hurting you? Any idea what was causing that?”

After polishing off a second bunny Gorg offers, "I can deal with a little pain, I'll make another run into that room to see what I can find", followed by a mumbled "...and this time I'll bring a dang lantern."

“It sounded like we might be able to bypass that with Erred’s help by using some mental trick … maybe occupying your mind with something?” But if we’re rested and ready we can go and discuss what to try with Erred and make a plan en route. That means on the way … sorry. I sometimes use odd words I discover in my readings that many folk don’t know about,” says Val.

“Hey Val, while we’re talking about magicky stuff, the dead lady back there had these on her. Any of them magic? Maybe they can deactivate the effect that hurts our heads…”

Arn joins his companions in a much needed break. He pulls out some salted pork and bread to munch on and offers some to Erred as well. Arn then pulls out a small cask of ale and pours himself a mug full in his steel drinking flask, and then offers to pour one for Gorg. “Here ye go lad, this will make ye feel better.”

After sharing some drink Arn looks back to Seeker. “Aye, yes, that sinister circle of brain-pain. It was a constant crushing, stabbing pain in the head. Ye would think that my helmet and natural dwarven thick-skull would protect me from it, but it is some evil type of magic. I had to just fight through it as long as I could to get to where the prisoners were. I don’t know if we have a way to counter it at all.”

Arn continues to listen to his companions speak and looks over their findings with the rapier and other items. “I hate to bring this up, but this was a place where Fortis was very effective …. finding magical items, and countering magical effects like this. I’m saddened a bit that he chose to be so difficult with Seeker. Yes, he was a pain in my arse, but he was a very useful ally. That aside, we should find a way to determine if anything is enchanted. I also think that we should find a way to better suit up and protect Erred. I could scrounge around to see if I can manage some piecemeal armor for him and maybe a weapon. I could also teach him some basic fighting techniques to help him better defend himself if he would need to until we can get him to safety.”

Erred eats the offered food eagerly while the others talk and rest a bit. Occasional screams and sounds echo through the chamber but they sound like the familiar sounds of those still caged in the prison chamber.

Valinya looks at the items Seeker has presented and easily see that the sword is magical but not the jewelry. Silver takes a look as well and confirms.

The group retraces their steps back through the narrow tunnels of Kraken’s Cove. They find themselves in the Trophy Room. The prison area, and the bedlam caused by the remaining caged prisoners is straight ahead and the kennel room leading out to the main chamber to the right. Both directions will lead them back to the areal filled with the strange, non-magical, mental attack aura.

“Arn,” Valinya says, “what exactly did you see in that area where your head hurt? I have a thought about that since it isn’t magical but want to confirm it.”

Arn says he saw a fairly even layer of sand covering the floors of a musty smelling cavern. Large pottery urns lined the walls of the cave and within each grew a riot of strange mushrooms, fluted toadstools, phosphorescent molds, greasy looking fronds of pale lichens and all manner of strange fungi. Several large glass terrariums, their walls beaded with condensation, stood along the far wall. One of these was shattered, the loamy soil within spilled out onto the sandy floor near a low table heaped with flasks, jars, bottles, and tools. Protruding from under the tables he saw a pair of small, curly toed boots, like those a Gnome would wear, possibly still connected to feet and legs.

“Excellent,” Valinya says, “I think I have an idea of what may be causing the brain pain. I suspect it has something to do with the mushrooms and perhaps some type of pollen or substance they release into the air … we had some mushrooms when I was a kid that were like little puff balls and when you stepped on them they made a pretty cloud of dust. So, perhaps what is causing the pain is something you breathed in. Maybe trying to enter holding your breath, or wearing something to filter the air, might prevent the problem.” Valinya claps her hands, obviously pleased with herself. “So now we only need a brave volunteer to test my theory.” There she pauses and looks around hopefully at the boys. Men.

Revisiting the Brain Pain

The group continues on through the small chamber where the savage canine creatures had been burnt to a crisp and find themselves once again in the large central chamber where they first encountered the giant lizard beasts. Several low burning lanterns still hang in this area and Gorg grabs one off the wall. Everyone steps near the line that had been drawn in the sand marking the area where the mental assault begins. Several of the companions turn and look to each other, wondering who is going to go first.

Gorg steps up near Val, "Like I said before, I'll make a run in there, what do you want me to try?"

“Actually,” Valinya says, “I’ll go. When I am transformed into air itself I don’t need to breath … I am air. So maybe that will solve the problem. Or it will make it much worse but there’s only one way to find out …” And without further ado … or any “to do” … she floats past the line and pauses to see what happens, an excited look on her face.

Almost immediately her smiling face turns to that of a look of pain. The mind crushing pain seems to affect her the same as everyone else.

Wincing in pain, Valinya quickly floats back to the group then says, “Well … I just thought … you know, maybe … “ She sighs.

“I warned you! I warned you it was evil brain magic. And did you listen? Oh, no….it’s just a harmless little mushroom is all, the dwarf is just imagining things. Well, I wasn’t, and now you all know. Harmless little mushrooms my arse,” Arn laughs.

Holding the lantern up in front of him and peering down the hallway towards the doorway he knows is there, Gorg reiterates, "I'll run down there. Anything you want me to check on, or am I just looking for anything weird?" Turning to Arn, he questions, "You said there might have been someone still in there?"

Arn confirms that he saw some legs sticking out from under a table, smallish, with “funny” shoes on, like a Gnome, or possibly a Human child. Valinya winces again at the thought of a child of some kind being trapped or hurt in there.

Gorg steps back a few paces, steels himself for the impending pain, then bolts down the hallway with his lantern raised in front of him.

Sand flies as Gorg rushes across the cavern and down the hallway. The light from the swinging lantern makes strange, shifting shadows along the walls. Everyone can hear him grunt and grind his teeth together as the unseen force assaults him. The large Ogre disappears around the corner into the room Arn previously bashed his way into a short while ago.

Gorg sees that a fairly even layer of sand covers the floors of this musty smelling cavern. Large pottery urns line the walls of the cave and within each grows a riot of strange mushrooms, fluted toadstools, phosphorescent molds, greasy looking fronds of pale lichens and all manner of strange fungi. Several large glass terrariums, their walls beaded with condensation, stand along the far wall. One of these is shattered, the loamy soil within spilling out onto the sand floor near a low table heaped with flasks, jars, bottles, and tools. Protruding from under the tables are a pair of small, curly toed boots. Seein this as his main target, Gorg steps up, bends down and grabs both feet with one large hand, the other occupied with his lantern.

He pulls the legs to reveal the body of a male Gnome. Before he can fully examine the Gnome, a puff of what looks like fine white powder sprays out somewhere beneath the table and hits him full in the face. It burns like fire, stings his eyes and fills his lungs. Coughing violently, Gorg shuffles backward as fast as he can, dragging the body with him. In just a few seconds he has pulled the body back out to the main cavern. Gorg falls to the ground and begins rubbing handfuls of sand on his face, trying to stop the burning he is feeling.

Floating over Valinya says, “Oh, you poor brave man … let me aid you and heal those wounds. You seem in great pain.” Without further ado she sings softly to heal him.

Found a Gnome

After wiping away as much of the powder as he can (and with the assistance of Val's healing), Gorg feels slightly less likely to pass out. He flops over onto his back and let's out a long groan. A few seconds later he opens his eyes just enough to get Val's attention and quietly asks, "Is the little guy even alive?"

It appears that the Gnome is not dead, but merely unconscious. He shows no outward signs of injury though his face and front are covered by a thick layer of white, flaky stuff, possibly the same spores that Gorg ran into. Based on where he was, it is likely that he was also affected by whatever mental assault was going on there as well.

The Gnome is not a young Gnome, though it is so hard to guess the age of a Gnome. He is on the larger side for a Gnome, nearly shaped like a happy old Dwarf. He is a good looking Gnome with thick beard and hair heavily tinged with gray. He wears a backpack and has various bits of equipment on him.

The Gnome’s breathing is very shallow and strained. His face is gaunt and eyes clenched closed. Gentle shaking does not wake him, though neither did Gorg roughly dragging him through the sand for 15 yards or so.

After Valinya uses her magic on Gorg, the new addition to the group, the young Human Erred, approaches Gorg cautiously. “You more hurt?” he asks in broken Eastern. Gorg nods slightly. “I help,” Erred says and steps closer to him.

While very interested in what Erred is going to do for helping Gorg, Valinya floats over the gnome to sing a ministering song for his healing.

Erred bows to Gorg and then slaps his hands together, rubbing them quickly while murmuring something that no one can quite make out. He then takes a deep inhalation of breath, places both hands on Gorg’s thick arm and breathes out quickly. Gorg feels a warming sensation flow through his body and he feels better. The young man steps back, sweat beading on his brow in the cool cavern. He smiles weakly and sits down. “I rest,” he mutters in Eastern.

After healing the Gnome, he starts to stir a bit. He opens one eye slowly and takes a moment focusing it around the room. He quickly closes it again and goes still again, though his breathing has become markedly more regular and quick.

Witnessing the rise and fall of the gnome Valinya tries to assess whether he’s just tired and napping, truly unconscious or faking being asleep.

Cast of Characters: 

Arne J plays Seeker, a teenage Wolfen Warlord
Stephen K plays Valinya, an Elven Wildsong Mage
Mike B plays Arn, a surly Dwarven Warrior
Amergin O'K plays Moonscar, the esoteric Kankoran Druid
Daniel W plays Silver, a young and curious Dragon
Mike W plays Gorgukk Torgnaz, an Ogre sailor and mauler
and Jason GURPS as the GM

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