Trade route Selen river is opening, Surtova has put an iron chain across just behind the border to stop ships, and has justified it to his own ppeople that it means he can collect taxes.
Complaints of pranks being played, like supplies curdling – being blamed on fey. No-one being hurt but it’s annoying. M8. So we’re heading there first.
M9 is bog mummies.
Horses roam whole of the plains if we are thinking of going G6-I11. Going here last.
We spend some time working on kingdom issues before we leave, and the cohorts go out exploring to Hooktongue lake. They see a nucalevee, a large fey evil creature, appears to be a horse and rider in the waves on the shore of the lake. Aquatic fey, horse and rider are joined as one, humanoid is gory naked muscle and reeking veins (looks flayed), tales of them emerging to smite those who damage nature, building on lush river banks etc can be dangerous. They fight it. It’s a nasty beastie, yuck. They win.
The leaders are off adventuring next. Nothing exciting in the initial journey.
Then we head for the area where people have been having issues with apparent fey tricks. Spend quite a bit of the day exploring, Rena keeps an eye on tracks, seem to be tracks of 4 legged medium sized creatures, not behaving in a standard pattern. We find hidden in undergrowth a young child, baby, seems to have died of starvation. Doesn’t appear to have been left there by the creatures. It was alive when it was left here. Clothes are soiled, smell very bad, peasant clothing. Rena does blood biography – family live on edge of woods, peat harvesters, blood shed when it was cold, hungry and thirsty and was trying to get attention to get someone to come feed it and clean its bottom. Clean it up and cast gentle repose on it and wrap the body up and take it with us. We follow tracks to a small hovel. 1 bedroom hut with peat outside. Inside is very basic, on the bed is a woman. Appears to be alive. We go in and find an emaciated bear cub in the crib, has blood on it, the woman on the bed is wounded and has a bandage over her eyes, it’s been tended and cleaned. Rena casts purify body on her. By each side of the bed there is a blanket, metal mug within her reach, still has liquid in it. Amina waits outside to spot the other occupant returning. She seems to be in a very deep sleep. Should really have a fever and pain from the wounds but doesn’t seem to have. She’s not badly malnourished. Bear has been given something as it’s not dehydrated. There’s not much food here. Perfectly good food appears to be have been put into a refuse pile. She looks a bit malnourished but not dehydrated. Rena casts purify food and drink on everything we can find food wise. Create water in a bowl. Selection of different herbs and bark etc on working surface. This looks like medicinal herbs e.g. willow bark, others that put people into deep sleep, fever reducers, healers and stop infections. It looks like she bent over the crib and got attacked. Invisibility purge, nothing changes. Some of the food was tampered with e.g. milk was spiked with chilli. Some of clothing had rosehip seeds on them (as crude itching powder). Someone has been making their lives a misery. Should be easy for Rena to track the other person. Amina stays to keep an eye on the woman. Cade and Rena find a man in his early thirties, peasant garb, in the woods, he has a basket and is collecting herbs and food. He doesn’t hear them coming. They talk, and he comes back to the hut with them. He goes straight to his wife, skirts round the crib. He thinks the same thing happened to the bear as to his own child and it’s not fair to take it out on the bear. Rena is grateful to him and says it speaks well of him. She went to the crib in the middle of the night and the bear lashed out, understandably. She’s sedated because of the pain and her loss of eyesight, and also the loss of their son. Rena thinks that the blessing he cast might heal her eyesight. Tells him that we found the body of their son. He says he has no right to ask anything of us, we’ve already done more than enough. But he asks if we could find the creatures that did this. Rena explains about Haven/Sanctuary and that they are now part of our kingdom. So we will see justice done for the murder of the child.
He says that the fey have gone from being annoying to vicious and vindictive, at the behest of the queen.
Rena casts food and water to feed everyone including the bear. Woman wakes up and can see, but is understandably distraught about the baby. We take the cub outside out of the way. Looks like it was put into the crib shaved! Takes quite some time before they come out. Shes very shy and nervous but grateful. The fey in this area are pixies, according to her. We know that pixies live deep in pristine forests, very curious, just over 2 ft high, fly at high level, speak quickly and easily become over excited. Can become invisible, immune to standard damage, use arrows which they can put lots of different magic on eg sleep, memory loss, charm. Can also create illusion and confusion. Normally not evil. May have been corrupted. Can be solitary or in bands – this looks like a band of at least 6 mounted on wargs. Rena offers a position as herbalist and physician in the royal household. They ask if we will conduct an Erastil burial for them. Rena says that it will be almost 2 weeks before the body will start to decay. Rena asks if we could get Rosa here to take them to safety. But no, we decide they are going to live in ancestorhold as herbalists. Bear cub is being fed and trained by Rena. Woman is still a bit wary of it but softens as day wears on. Towards end of day, they ask if they should stay up, but Rena says they should go to bed. Couple of hours after dark, Amina and Cade are aware that the place is being stalked. 6 wargs each ridden by a pixie. They cast a spell each and hunker down on their warg. We win, 5 captured, one killed. Track back to their camp, find evidence of the 6 of them, planning attacks on people, including names of our fey friends. Co-ordinated attack on our kingdom. Nothing of note kit wise. We take the plans with us. The couple who lived here had explored extensively so they tell us what we need to know for purposes of claiming it. We take them and prisoners to Valorhold to be escorted on to Ancestor Hold.
We move on to the Bog Of Bones which is where the mummies are. 3 of them. Wave of despair rolls over us but we shrug it off. They seem keen on hitting us, slamming into us. Not so bothered about killing us. Odd tactic especially since they are intelligent. Turns out their ramming us infects us with their curse disease. Their version of it is hard to remove. You cannot recover naturally over time. If you die from it you crumble to dust and cannot be raised. The mummies don;t seem to have bones, just all soft tissue stuff. Hair is tinged with red. All carrying a holy symbol – very old style, of Urgothoa (undead, disease, gluttony). They are resistant to fire but vulnerable to cold. People who have survived these attacks will still have the curse on them. We need to make a proclamation that anyone who has survived an attack needs to present themselves to a priest for checking over. Send a bird to Jayana to get her to do this.
Meanwhile the cohorts are off exploring. Nothing special happens. Meet some local fey and have a chat. Then they move on to dragonfly glen. We may need to send someone to cull the big ones every year, for safety reasons. On to Hooktongue. Still a few smaller groups pf boggards about but nothing like the problems of before.
We move on to L9 and carry on west. Say hi to the bogstriders. K9 next. Lots of dangerous azure lilies. They burn nicely as Rena and Cade torch them. We run into a person who we ask what they’re doing there (the assassin’s and poisoner’s guilds are keen to get these lilies), says he’s gathering stuff to sell at market, opens his bag to show Rena what he’s got, he’s got poisonous mushrooms mixed with food ones. Rena says he’s gathering poison, he says it’s food – sense motive says he’s hiding something. He has a book guiding him how to find stuff and what it’s worth, including the lilies – a price for location, and a price for actually harvesting it. He says he was hired in Fort Drevlev, by someone male, very tall, lanky, beard, met him in the pub. Rena says he is going to take a lock of his hair, and he is to go to Freehold, i.e what was Drevlev. Tells him what he has been doing is illegal. If he goes back and finds an honest job, tells the guards everything he has told us, he’ll be spared, if not, Rena will track him down and punish him. It’s his one chance to escpae prison. He seems terrified. He heads east away from us. Leaves his belongings. We destroy mushrooms etc, pack up his belongings to give back to him later. He’d probably have died trying to pick the lilies.
We move on to J9, which is unexciting.
The cohorts are off to K7. They find a place where the wildlife is very subdued, it’s dark and tangled, place of repulsion. No light coming in, ground bubbles, feels eerie, vegetation so overgrown it’s like a tunnel network. See signs on stones and rocks of entrails – augury, yuck. lots of creatures moving about, bugs, poisonous snakes watching us. Emerge into large damp cavern. Five pale faces shine in the darkness. Greasy tangled mess of hair round faces, bodies blended into shadows. Something snakelike about long neck/body. Aria thinks they are spirit nagas. Spell casters, poisonous. They surround an altar that they seem to be carrying out a ritual on.
They do a sending to the main party. Main party knows spirit nagas are aberrations, delight in places of death and desolation. Seek out places of fundamental corruption, places of dark magic, mostly solitary, band together to mimic Coven of hags, ally selves to achieve a goal. Can see in dark, gaze attack that can charms enemies or victims. 3 days before main party gets there. Cohorts can meet us at bottom of Lake Hooktongue and guide us to location. They will keep an eye on entrance to see if they come out. So we set off. When we get there, they’ve not seen anyone come out of this tunnel but obviously there may be other ways that they’re not able to see. We all go in together. Buffed. We take them down.
There are bodies in the ‘walls’ of the place. 6 people. 3 are dead, entrails ripped out, died in absolute agony :( Plants etc have partly grown into them, there are snake bite marks. 2 others are unconscious and look like they have been tortured, but deliberately kept alive. Final one seems to be conscious but really not registering what is going on. Rena casts 3 x purify body. we will start cutting them out of the walls. Mr Conscious not really responding as you’d expect, but nothing visible on him injury wise. We think they are minor officials of ours. No-one we know very well. One of them is an minor assistant to Svetlana. One is a town guardsman. Rena casts detect magic. There are 2 ongoing spells in the area. One on the unresponsive guy. He is under an enchantment spell. Rena thinks it might be Feeble Mind spell. Rena can fix it tomorrow. We move them out after searching the place.
They have info and intelligence on the kingdom, officials who could make minor changes without being caught, more susceptible to being replaced or removed. Between them they have 4 items (hidden) from one another. A hat, helmet, mirror and ring. Hat is cursed, should be a hat of disguise – hat of hatreds. Helmet is cursed – opposite alignment. Mirror is a mirror of life trapping. Ring is not cursed, ring of plagues (when wearer is injured to point they are wounded, whoever struck that blow is immediately cursed like major curse spell with a fair strength behind it, makes it harder for person to resist disease and gives them a disease chosen by wearer without a saving throw. Can only be cured by casting remove curse and remove disease within one minute. Once per day if made unconscious a load of plagues is released on attacker and 5 closest allies/family, wears off if wearer returns to consciousness. They were planning to use this to attack senior officials. They were going through items for sale magic wise looking for cursed items. Cade wants to know if turning someone good against their will is a goodly thing – ask gods. Rena suggests putting it into treasury and offering it to people who wish to change but are struggling with it. Amina is against keeping it, should be destroyed. Cade is also not keen. It’s possible the unresponsive guy has had his life force stolen by the mirror. If we break it he will be set free. We prop the mirror against the wall and Amina kicks it. Nothing seems to happen when it breaks. Next up is the hat. We use sword on that. Next the ring – Tallis takes out a glowing adamantium warhammer and smashes it. The helm is the final thing, we agree to destroy it. Amina and Tallis smash it. We bring the bodies down and take them for proper burial. The cohorts take them all to Freehold, keeping an eye on them for weird behaviour. Bits of mirror put in a bag in portable hole.
We go to Peacehold. Talked to High Priestess of Pharasma. We teleport to Absalom, and ask about a rod attuned to Pharasma’s boneyward. We get offered the chance to find one amongst a whole bunch of them (20). 1 is attuned to boneyard, 5 are blank, 1 abaddon, 1 abyss, 1 astral plane, 1 axis, 1 elysium, 1 heaven, 1 hell, 1 maelstrom, 1 nirvana, 1 water, 1 fire, 1 earth, 1 air, 1 this plane. We can take them all if Rena studies with the professor for a month. She will come to Sanctuary. She wants to see the magic items we destroyed. Ring, Mirror. She says that’s not working how it’s meant to. She says it’s not a mirror of life stealing. Traps souls but not body. Soul snaring. Right to smash it up. Helm. She/he is interested in what we think of other races, says they’re not human. She is offering to teach us if we want it as well. We teleport back home with her/him. Rena wants a chat with high priestess of Pharasma. Asks her for the church to arrange something – a message to highest priest or whatever is needed. Asks her if she is aware of the Armag thing. She doesn’t know about the sword and the story of the original Armag. Points out that we are effectively taking sides in a war between gods, so we are asking for protection for the kingdom.
She debates how she can help. Says the gods are not as active as they once were. She will try and push it up the chain to higher priests in other countries. He suggests she could do the actual thing of destroying the sword. She would do it. She says its her duty to her faith to do that. Rena suggests we convert the shrine of Pharasma to a temple before we go. Our professor thinks they may be able to help. Their name is Doctor (!!!????)
Rena asks if the Doctor knows the spell Stone to Flesh? They don;t but they go rushing off to the uni to buy a scroll so they can learn it once they find out why we want it. Very excited about it. Wants some space for themself while they are here. We say ok. He can teleport buildings. They’ve restored the gnome. He wants to talk to us. He’s in the bar sitting on the tallest stool, having a drink. Has persuaded the barmaid to let him make cocktails, and he’s teaching her. He thanks us for rescuing him. He’s from Numeria originally. He had an accident with his airship and it went off course. Was after rare ingredients, one of which was a basilisk’s eye! Thinking of giving up adventuring! Someone foretold that he would meet Rena, because of promises Rena has made, he should pass on this information. In the future you will need to know the story of the picnic. Who asked him to pass that on? A prophet in Numeria who is often considered to be mad, but he says don’t take her words lightly. She told him that 3 years ago!
Rena assigns Svetlana to work with Doctor to find someone to sponsor someone through a very advanced education at the university.
Rena asks Doctor if they want to come and see the Boneyard. Everyone gets together with Pharasma cleric and Doctor if they want to come along, and we planeshift to boneyard. It’s like a city around a great temple. Pharasma cleric has no idea where she is going. But she does know that in the boneyard, there are 8 courts each for the outer spheres. Rena thinks we want to aim for Heaven as that’s where Erastil and Iomidae followers would be. He casts feather walk to speed us up. There is the graveyard of souls which lies beyond the courts, also a possibility. At some point the Keeper will turn up anyway, will be someone empowered by Pharasma, that might be a possibility.
It turns up. Rena explains the situation. It is aware. It will walk with us and make sure nothing stops us on our route. Rena thanks it. Anything that comes near us, she looks at it and it’s paralysed. She leads us to a grave with our priest’s name on it. Date of death is marked on there, and it’s only 2 years from now. We can do what we came to do, or we can look into the pool and find out how this came about. Cade retrieves the sword and it tries to control him. It fails. We buff Elspeth the Pharasma cleric as much as we can. She succeeds. She raps the gravestone three times with the blade. Nothing happens. She hits it harder and it shatters. We all look around expecting something to happen. We see a whole host of faces looking at us. The keeper thinks they are waiting to claim the soul that has been released. Might be wise for us to leave in case we get nabbed instead. She comes with us, as Pharasma has asked her to bless our temple. We now have a temple that is hallowed to Pharasma for a very long duration. We ask her to create a cathedral in Ancestorhold. It’s done. Elspeth asks if we will be present on that day. We say we will. The Herald sort of fades out, leaving us in Ancesterhold. Doctor is surprised to have met the herald, not something they expected to ever do. Apparently Rena hasn’t had enough study to make a month yet. Interested in the ruined wizard’s tower as somewhere to retire to when he’s ready, perhaps somewhere for sabbaticals too. Amina is keen to get as many people as possible to listen to him (including herself).
The doctor has to go back to the university. Offers to take us somewhere before they go. Rena asks if they could take us to the first world. They say they could perhaps make a tuning fork. Rena explains about fey queen.Doctor asks why she is attacking us as that is important.
Amina wants to to go to the Seven Arches elf gate to look at it. Doctor says they can take us there. Takes us somewhere with dirt roads and stone mile markers, we see a big tree person moving on the road, wall overgrown with ivy, openings without gates, seems to be elven architecture but human built into the ruins. Every building even human ones is covered in ivy. Centre of town there are 7 arches, 20 ft high, radiating faint illusion magic, in a circle. He says, no, this is wrong. This is not the real one, he says. Says its a good copy. He says he will take us into the actual woods, into a great clearing hundreds of feet across, 7 arches in clearing carved from grey brown basalt, carved, covered in vines and moss, Each arch different size and shape. Some huge. Says there’s a reason why the elves aren’t allowed here, not just a hatred. Doesn’t know exactly, he knows that origin of open stewards wasn’t just this town, was to guard against what could come through those portals. There may be something that has not been completely cleaned up. Maybe elves brought something back with them. It would have been unwise to bring any elf here. But he’s never managed to find out exactly what. Could be origin of one of plagues that hit elven people. Suggests research on Obnubilate plague. Takes us back to Freehold.
WE go looking for horses with aid of Wind Walk. Eventually (I8) we spot horse tracks. WE follow them. We go to H8. Come across large group of wild horses grazing. They see us approaching, and start moving off. Big black stallion is clearly the leader getting them to move. Rena casts wind walk and we pursue the horses. Can do 60 mph and look like clouds. He moves them up on top of hill where wind is strong. Windchaser seems enormously intelligent and almost as if he knows the spell. Rena thinks this is actually a druid. Rena talks to it. It also speaks common! It asks if Amina is a spellcaster. He’s heard of Erastil but not Iomidae. Rena explains her. Windchaser was awakened by his former companion, just before he died. Rena tells him about Speartooth. Windchaser says he might agree to having a couple of trainers work nearby where he can keep an eye on them, why should he trust us. Rena points out our neighbours are less kind than we are. Trust goes both ways. If we are to protect the herd, he has to work with us. Asks for suggestion how we can work together. Rena asks if they’d consider moving to plains to the east instead where it’s better protected. Horses from herd only to be taken as companions not as mounts as such. Rena suggests that trust starts with the leaders of each people – so him and Windchaser. So they go through trials and exercises to see that each is agreeable….Goes through training ideas and tells Rena which ones are rubbish.
There are a couple of stallions who want to prove themselves, they will come with Rena. He says he will do his best to protect them. Windchaser would like druids in the area. Rena says he will speak to the Gosray faith to send one. We will come back with them in a couple of months so they can report back.