The ritual is complete and healing surges into Darren, Rikard and Mistress Bianca. The two men from the Order of the Jade Leaf congratulate Mistress Bianca. Of course Christophe asks a few polite questions as is his nature and leaves to mull over his notes.
Rikard Castleberry: “Not too bad, almost as good as new!”
Mistress Bianca feels much better and thanks for everyone’s participation. She answers any questions from Ms. Culand’s apprentice and has a quiet chat with Reess before he strides off.
Mistress Bianca: “I am tired, very tired. I think I need to go to bed.”
Bart: “The spirits favored you. Sleep well Mistress.”
Mistress Bianca: “Tomorrow we can discuss what we plan to do from here.”
Reess: “I can tend to cleaning up. Get some rest and thanks again for allowing me to see such a … ah, visceral learning experience.”
*Darren wonders if the scar will be permanent
Bart: “Shall I collect the remaining blood for you, Bianca?”
Darren heads off toward home.
Mistress Bianca: “The magic is gone, it is as useful as sand.”
Mistress Bianca goes to the sheltering frond to sleep a sleep that dreamers dream about.
Bart disposes of the blood.
Rikard Castleberry: “Well, that went over well, I feel pretty decent.”
Bart: “But can you now spit fire?”
Rikard Castleberry: “Hmm, I haven’t tried yet.”
Rikard Castleberry gets all serious, and tries to breathe fire.
Rikard Castleberry seems to not accomplish his task.
Rikard Castleberry: “It doesn’t appear so, Bart”
Mistress Bianca goes up to her room, smiles to her success, and goes to sleep.
Reess and Bart clean up the mess. The observers go home. Mistress Bianca goes to The Sheltering Frond and…
Bart: “Rikard, so, you are well?”
Darren goes home to sleep off the strange funk of the evening.
Rikard Castleberry: “I am unwounded, except for that hit to the chest from the spider before that left my arms weaker.”
Bart: “Would you like me to look at that?”
Rikard Castleberry: “By all means, go ahead.”
Darren settles in quickly and opens a nice, white wine that appears to be chilly enough to drink.
Bart: “It may not be pleasant. A spirit will enter you to give you strength. It may not want to leave.”
Rikard Castleberry: “The spirit might not be pleasant? Or the experience of it?”
Darren decides it will be best to just let his questions of what just happened go and move on with what he intends to do. With that he drifts off into an uncomfortable dream.
Bart: “I find my spirit totem comfortable and helpful.”
Rikard Castleberry: “Well, it can’t possibly be worse than some of the things I’ve felt, should I brace myself against something?”
Bart reaches down and picks some swamp plants.
Bart: “This should help.”
Bart starts his chant, calling to the spirits for aid. As the chant starts to build an image seems to merge with Rikard. He seems to expand his armor growing thicker, his hair merging with his head as a turtle becomes apparent ready for the swamp grasses that Bart holds out.
Bart looks drained as the spirits heed his call, and heal Rikard’s lingering wound.
Rikard Castleberry: “That didn’t feel very invasive at all, in fact, that felt pretty good!”
Rikard Castleberry notices Bart.
Rikard Castleberry: “Do you need me to help you somewhere? You look a bit tired.”
Bart: “It looks like you have been helped. I will see you in the morning.”
Bart: “I just need some rest.”
Rikard Castleberry: “Ok, I will see you in the morning then. I appreciate what you did.”
Rikard Castleberry heads to the tavern for a quick drink before he goes to bed. His mouth feels incredibly dry from the healing.
Rikard Castleberry drinks enough ale to subdue the salty after effects of that healing and passes out a few inches from his pillow at Darren’s house.
Night passes and morning follows.
Mistress Bianca wakes up well rested and devours her breakfast. Even eating the electric organ packed full of electrocytes from the rare lightning fish.
Rikard Castleberry wakes up, feeling better than he has in weeks. He finds he is up first, so he goes outside and starts exercising.
Mistress Bianca goes to Darren’s house after breakfast.
Bart goes to collect the party members.
Bart: “Good Morning Rikard, Are you ready for the executions?”
Rikard Castleberry: “Why are you shouting? It’s still early, there’s people sleeping!”
Bart: “Actually, I think you are the last one.”
Bart: “The food will be gone if you do not hurry.”
Rikard Castleberry: “Oh. Hmm. What’s for breakfast?”
Darren was up early and has already fixed up his hair, washed up and changed into a leather jerkin that almost looks like it had been pressed and cleaned of the yesterdays toils.
Bart: “Whatever the venders are selling. What is appropriate for executions?”
Darren you hear Bart speaking rather loud. It is coming from Rikard’s room.
Bart: “We need to get Bianca still.”
Mistress Bianca: “Good morning.”
Darren comes out of his room and heads over to the room where he believes the sound is coming from.
Rikard Castleberry: “Hmm, I’m not really sure; I think it depends on the type of execution. If it’s crucifixion, it’s meat on a stick. The vendors have a sick sense of humor.”
Darren seeing Bianca he greets her.
Bart: “So today it will be salad?”
Darren: “Good Morning Mistress, I believe the boys are up.”
Rikard Castleberry: “Maybe with a red dressing.”
Dawn is imminent.
Bart: “Then we should probably stop at the pantry on the way out.”
Rikard Castleberry: “A good idea. Let’s go check it out?”
Darren steps up to the open door.
Bart grabs some cheese on the way to the executions.
Darren: “I think we should all stay together today.”
Rikard, Bart and Darren make their way to the Sheltering Frond.
The last wisps of fog writhe in the rays of the climbing sun. The relative coolness of night gives way to the growing mugginess of day. Dressed in their best clothes, hundreds of people line the road from Kith’takharos Keep, extending a quarter mile from the main gate to the first village buildings. Small children straddle the shoulders of their fathers, while older children grip their mother’s hands. All anticipate Lady Salmissra’s justice.
Everyone arrives at the Sheltering Frond. The doors are open with Cylene and a few workers just outside the door, watching for the Lady to come out of the Keep.
Rikard Castleberry: “Nothing like some good Justice to start the day, eh?”
Bart: “It seems quick though.”
Upon hearing your purpose she sends one of her cooks to fetch Mistress Bianca.
Darren: “These men could be forced to work, such a waste I think.”
Rikard Castleberry: “They want to make crime as unappetizing as possible, so people avoid it in the future.”
Bart: “But did they find out why?”
Rikard Castleberry: “I’m sure they will tell us during the sentencing.”
Mistress Bianca groggily goes downstairs, hurriedly dressed and holding her mask on without the straps tied yet.
Creaking wood draws all eyes to the main gate of Kith’takharos Keep. The louder conversations shift to whispers. Massive doors swing inward on ancient hinges, revealing a widening slice of courtyard and Lady Victoria Salmissra. She looks ahead without expression, her green eyes icy jewels of resolve, her long black hair tied behind her head. She wears loose trousers and blouse in the dark green of the Order of the Jade Leaf; leather boots rise above her calf. Militia leader Xanthus Bome stands three paces behind her.
By tradition, the condemned always spends thier last night in Kith’takharos Keep. Dressed in black and flanked by sixteen Jade Leaf guards, they follow Bome. As a group they look bewildered and confused, except one who stares forward with composure. Nearby villagers crane their necks to see around the guards.
Bart: “It is something of a ritual itself.”
Nearby you notice a poster announcing a celebration in the Open Market three days hence. Lady Salmissra intends to welcome the new Transit Guild recruits and thank the Guild for its kind offer of protection. Gossip spreads like mosquitoes in the spring: most people aren’t at all happy with the Transit Guild and wonder what she has planned.
Rikard Castleberry shares the uneasy glance with all the random folks around him
Darren looks on somewhat bored.
Mistress Bianca searches the gathering for signs of Meryl.
Lady Salmissra and the Jade Leaf men move with measured steps. The prisoners keep pace though one has to be helped to his feet after he stumbles due to his shackles. Once the procession clears the gate, Lady Salmissra holds up a hand. Xanthus Bome and the guards immediately halt at attention.
Darren looks around the crowd suspiciously, he doesn’t know why, but he has a strange feeling in his gut.
Bart offers Rikard some of the cheese he took from Darren’s.
Rikard Castleberry gratefully takes a bit of cheese from Bart.
Lady Salmissra speaks in a clear voice that carries across the crowd. “We are gathered to see justice done according to the laws of Kith’takharos as first written by my grandmother Therese Salmissra. The condemned, Officer Trevis Alcard of the Transit Guild. Transit Guild member Fauks, Transit Guild member Siers Amon, and Transit Guild member Antonini Sre, have killed Caleg Sinjon, Officer of the Order of the Jade Leaf. By doing so, they have threatened the security and existence of Kith’takharos by committing an unlawful murder. For this crime they have been sentenced to death by F’lunin.” She makes a point of using the Swamp Man word for the plant rather than the colloquial ‘snakevine’.
Lady Salmissra continues. “Master Bome, has the F’lunin been made ready?”
Bome rumbles in rasping tones of stones grating against stones, “Yes, Lady Salmissra, It waits in its tree.”
Lady Salmissra nods and steps forward. The guards urge the prisoners forward with respectful taps to their backside, and they begin their last walk.
Bart: “It is going to take a while for one plant to eat all of those men.”
The condemned men scream one by one and then go silent.
Lady Salmissra leads the Jade Leaf men back to the road. She raises her arms and shouts, “It has been done. The F’lunin must not be disturbed.”
Rikard Castleberry: “Maybe it eats faster than we thought.”
The people nod, and many appear satisfied. Justice has been served.
Rikard Castleberry: “So, salads for lunch today?”
Darren says in a low tone before turning, "Well I don’t know about you all, but that didn’t feel like justice to me.”
Slowly the crowd moves away and attends to their daily business.
Darren: “Something just isn’t right about this.”
Bart: “An eye for an eye.”
Rikard Castleberry: “Caleg was a good man, he deserved some retribution.”
Mistress Bianca: “There are 2 laws, one was broken, everyone knows this.”
Bart: “Why would they have attacked him? An entire squad against one lone leafman.”
Darren: “If he had stayed retired, he’d be drinking a nice beer right about now.”
Cylene: “Because they were drunk and foolish.”
Cylene turns and heads back into her place of business.
Rikard Castleberry: “Oh, hi there Cylene.”
Mistress Bianca: “So, let’s discuss our plans.”
Rikard Castleberry: “Breakfast?”
Rikard Castleberry: “Then do we start looking for Meryl?”
Darren listens as they walk "I still think something strange is going on at the ruins.”
*Bart: “I would have thought he would be at the frond. Where else would he go?”
Rikard Castleberry: “That I do not know for certain.”
Mistress Bianca: “Maybe Dorian knows. Either way, we need to move forward with our task, Bart and his spirit friends.”
Darren: “If you had any of his effects, perhaps one of Bart’s friends could smell him out for us.”
Mistress Bianca: “I would like to find Meryl, but I cannot wait forever.”
Bart: “Do we head for Harlass Orn?”
There is an energy in the air that is different as you stand in the streets talking.
Merchants are setting up tables and talking lightly amongst themselves.
Instead of shouts coming from the harbor, you hear laughter and good natured ribbing rise from the docks.
Rikard Castleberry: “It seems that the execution actually raised everyone’s spirits here today.”
Mistress Bianca: “So it would seem. I’m hungry, are you all hungry?”
Rikard Castleberry: “I’m always hungry.”
Bart: “I have some cheese.”
You eat and drink and an hour passes.
Darren: “Well let’s get a bite then get on with it…whatever it is.”
Rikard Castleberry: “Don’t we have to meet with Dorian?”
Darren: “For what?”
Rikard Castleberry: “Or was it Jorian?”
Mistress Bianca: “Jorian may want to hear what our plans are. Let’s go see him.
Rikard Castleberry: “I had 12 ales last night; give me a little bit of a break. :) “
Darren: “Pfft, Rikard you been on a break for days and days.”
Darren: “It’s time to use those muscles for something more than lifting ales.”
Rikard Castleberry flashes Darren a toothy grin as he heads towards the Leaf.
Second Administrator Hightower and a dozen of his men walk by outside. The crowd hushes as they pass, but resume soon after.
Bart: “I still can’t get in.”
Mistress Bianca: “Well let’s see if yours are ready.”
Mistress Bianca continues to the gate to the Jade Leaf
Darren: “Why not?”
Bart: “Too many expectations. “
There are certainly more guards here than usual. Instead of two or three there are over a dozen, armed to the teeth with dozens more practicing loudly in the yards.
Rikard Castleberry: “Ah, a lively day here already!”
One of the men steps forward.
Jade Leaf Guard: “Hello friends of Kith’takharos, been a busy morning hasn’t it?”
Mistress Bianca holds up her chit.
Mistress Bianca: “Is there one of these for Bart and Rikard yet?”
The man has silver jade leaf tabs on his shoulders, both of them and his hair is silver-streaked and pulled back tight. He is older than most but in great shape.
Mistress Bianca: “Forgive me. Good morning.”
Jade Leaf Guard: “I will look into it. He turns, snaps his fingers lightly and one of the men go to look at the book.”
Jade Leaf Guard: “So what brings you here this fine morning?”
Mistress Bianca: “We would like to have a moment with Jorian, Dorian, or anyone else whose name ends in orian.”
Jade Leaf Guard: “I can tell you that Jorian is out of the question, he is, well, he is occupied.”
Jade Leaf Guard’s eyes roll towards the keep in general.
Jade Leaf Guard: “I’m not quite certain about Dorian, it is a pretty busy day already but we can look into that.”
Mistress Bianca: “Post execution paperwork I guess.”
Mistress Bianca: “That would be wonderful.”
Jade Leaf Guard: “Paperwork, hehe, that’s good.”
The other guard comes back and whispers a negative in his ear.
Jade Leaf Guard: “I have no more chits to offer, I’ll send a man for Dorian.”
Rikard Castleberry: “You 2 can go ahead; we will find ways to entertain ourselves until sent for out here.”
Soon after the guard comes back with two more chits, one for Bart, and one for Rikard.
Darren: “Well I don’t see why just asking around if anyone has seen him recently is a bad thing.”
Jade Leaf Guard collects the chits.
Jade Leaf Guard: “Head on in.”
Darren smiles and heads on in
Rikard Castleberry: “Excellent, thank you my good man!”
Bart: “Why are we here again?”
You arrive to Dorian’s private chamber; it is cramped without room for chairs for any but himself.
A map of the region and desk are between you and him.
Mistress Bianca: “First, because I want to know about Meryl, then to tell them when we will be leaving.”
Dorian: “My favorite, no…my second favorite troublemakers. Have a seat.”
Rikard Castleberry raises an eyebrow at the chair comment, and then chuckles to himself
Mistress Bianca: “Good Morning Mister Orsova.”
Darren bows politely.
Mistress Bianca sits.
Bart sits on the floor.
Dorian leans back in his chair. “Yavanna complained to me about Darren pestering her.”
Mistress Bianca decides to lean against a wall instead.
Darren clears his throat but does not sit on the dusty floor.
Mistress Bianca: “Yes, I would too if I had anyone to complain to.”
Dorian: “Jorian also found Darren quite amusing.”
Mistress Bianca: “He gets around.”
Dorian: “But I suppose you did not come to discuss Darren.”
Darren responds in kind, “Yes, I did ask her if we could help her and Jorian as well.”
*Bar*t: “We usually wait till he can’t hear us.”
Dorian: “Apparently different people got different meanings from those conversations.”
Mistress Bianca: “Brass tacks Mister Orsova. Do you know anything about my uncle? I have not spoken to him in some time and am concerned that he has not sought me out.”
Dorian: “I know many things about him, but I suppose you only care about one. The answer is yes, I have a general idea as to his whereabouts.”
Dorian: “Last I know, he is alive.”
Rikard Castleberry: “Alive is a good thing.”
Mistress Bianca: “Is he going to leave?”
A rare woman member of the Order of the Jade Leaf appears. Dorian hands her a large bag of gold and one of the scrolls from the rack. She leaves. All is done without saying a word.
Mistress Bianca: “Or is he going to stay in Kith’takharos?”
Dorian chuckles. "Done and done. He and those loyal to him left town in a large skiff. Headed out onto the Big Water. “
Dorian: “Don’t know where he was headed. Perhaps when Koran reports, I’ll know more.”
Rikard Castleberry: “So, at least in the immediate future, he’s not in the picture.”
Mistress Bianca lets her shoulder dip as she realizes he probably had opportunity to talk to her but past on it.
Darren: “So, if we say, look around the ruins for him…?”
Dorian: “Oh, it’s my hunch he’ll be back. I’m sure he has a plan. Meryl doesn’t do things without a reason.”
Dorian: “Which ruins?”
Mistress Bianca: “Gah! I am not looking for him.”
Darren says as he looks at the map “The Harlass Orn of course”
Dorian: “That doesn’t narrow things down. You could go any direction and find those.”
Darren: “Well, the one that everyone has been visiting, I mean”
Dorian arches an eyebrow. “You seem to know more than I. Please elaborate.”
Mistress Bianca shakes her head and tries not to laugh.
Darren: “Transit guild boats were spotted near ruins not far off.”
Dorian: “…and which ruins were those? And how would you know?”
Darren: “I overheard conversation about them.”
Darren: “The jade leaf knows so I assume you did to.”
Dorian: “Really? Please tell me who was talking. I’d like to speak with them.”
Mistress Bianca laughs
Mistress Bianca: “Dorian, you can keep him if you want.”
Darren: “Well it is not my intent to get someone into trouble only to help find Yavanna’s belongings.”
Dorian takes a drink of tea.
Rikard Castleberry looks like he missed something, but follows along the best he can.
Bart: “Why was Caleg killed?”
Dorian turns around and points to the map. “Please show me where the boats were found. Then, perhaps we can move onto other topics of interest.”
Darren points to a spot just southwest of Kith’takharos.
Dorian: “Some men got drunk and got out of hand. Caleg stood up for the Order and was killed for his trouble.”
Dorian: “Too damn bad. He was a good man. An honorable man, and there’s never enough of those.”
Mistress Bianca: “To think, we passed on him for…this.”
Bart: “Didn’t look right. Caleg was a good fighter. They didn’t look too wounded for drunken slobs.“
Mistress Bianca gestures at Darren.
Dorian: “So, you heard Transit Guild boats were down there?”
Darren: “Well, I didn’t get an exact location.”
Darren: “At any rate, it does seem awfully strange that we have recent developments and then she was accosted.”
Dorian: “Caleg was unlucky. That’s all. Even Sarruk Urzy was bested at one time or another.”
Dorian: “You’re telling me there are recent developments. I have never said I agree with that assessment.”
Darren: “It is difficult to help without reliable information.”
Dorian: “Perhaps the strangeness is all on your end, eh?”
Mistress Bianca: “Dorian, may I change to subject?”
Darren: “Mr. Orsova we both know that your troubles have only just begun…The guild is positioning themselves, Lemar is still out there”
Dorian: Well, I’m not sure what the subject is. Does Darren speak for you? Are you here to help Yavanna? “
Bart shrugs his shoulders, not sure of the answer.
Mistress Bianca: “It’s Lenar ya moron get it right. No he doesn’t speak for me. He seems to speak far too much for himself.”
Mistress Bianca: “I wanted to tell Jorian we are planning on leaving soon, maybe even today.”
Mistress Bianca: “Yes, to help Yavanna.”
Dorian: “Are you leaving on a mission to help Yavanna?”
Dorian: “Well, this is good. How were you planning to proceed?”
Bart just looks confused.
Mistress Bianca: “Trusting Bart’s intuition.”
Rikard Castleberry: “I trust the spirits. They have been good to me.”
Darren rolls his eyes.
Dorian nods. “That is a good plan. What do the spirits tell you?”
Bart: “I was planning on going to Harlass Orn.”
Dorian: “Darren pointed out Harlass Orn. Would you leave before or after the festival in three days?”
Bart asks Rikard, “What is this about Yavanna?”
Rikard Castleberry responds to Bart, “I really don’t know. Nobody told me about her.”
Rikard Castleberry: “What festival is this Dorian?”
Bart: “I am ready to leave today, but something usually gets in my way.”
Mistress Bianca: “I hate crowds; you should know that I would prefer to be as far away as possible from people.”
Dorian: “So, have you brought your companions up to speed on the particulars, Bianca?”
Mistress Bianca: “Yes, I filled em in immediately after my last visit with Jorian.”
Dorian: “In three days, Lady Salmissra will address the village.”
Bart: “You seem to have a lot of the undead involved here.”
Dorian: “An important announcement.”
Rikard Castleberry: “Perhaps this announcement would be worth staying for.”
Rikard Castleberry: “What is 3 days?”
Dorian: “Yes, reminds me of some things that happened to Casdegere.”
Mistress Bianca: “Skeletons stole the cubes we gave her and the ones that she found on her own. We need to get em back and save the day again, but this time for 1000 gold.”
Mistress Bianca: “That sum it up?”
Mistress Bianca: “So what’s this about an announcement?”
Dorian: “She has not told me. Or anyone, as far as I know.”
Rikard Castleberry: “Oooo, I like surprises!”
Dorian: “Do you need any supplies?”
Bart: “For the festival?”
Rikard Castleberry: “For the announcement? I hope not.”
Dorian: “For your journey.”
Dorian: “You already have a boat.”
Mistress Bianca: “We have a couple doses of v’gar and trastic but…anything that you think would be useful would be appreciated.”
Rikard Castleberry: “Most likely the standard. I’m sure to go through a lot of bandages and water.”
Bart: “Why? The swamp provides.”
Darren: “Rations, water, rope, standard gear would be appreciated.”
Dorian: “Hmmm…Koran says things like that.”
Mistress Bianca: “I don’t think skeletons have blood, so if one hurts us, I doubt I could heal us.”
Rikard Castleberry: “Maybe marrow will work?”
Dorian rubs his chin, and then takes another drink of tea. “There is one additional thing for which I will be very grateful.”
Mistress Bianca sighs.
Mistress Bianca: “Besides speaking nothing of this to anyone? “
Rikard Castleberry: “I’m sure we can talk about the festival, B.”
Dorian smiles. “I see you know the drill. No…If you could find and bring back Lenar Hoyt alive, you would be well compensated. I’d like to have a chat with him.”
Bart: “I am not sure that will be possible.”
Mistress Bianca: “Hmmm…That is in conflict with previous instructions I have withstanding.”
Rikard Castleberry: “Do you know where he is?”
Darren: “If we find the skeleton, I would imagine we find him.”
Dorian reaches into a drawer and pulls out a small tin with a screw top. “Vas F’lumok. Causes paralysis. Put it on your weapons, or get it in him some other way.””
Mistress Bianca: “Lady Salmissra herself told me that if we should see Hoyt to kill him.”
Rikard Castleberry: “Do you need him…..intact?”
Dorian: “Well, that was before things went all the way to hell. “
Dorian: “He’s at the center of all this.”
Mistress Bianca: “Him or Tierney?”
Bart: “I am not sure that Lenar is still himself.”
Dorian: “Hoyt. I’m talking about Hoyt.”
Darren steps up and takes the tin, placing it in his pocket.
Mistress Bianca: “If we find Hoyt, I will try not to kill him.”
Rikard Castleberry: “I can’t promise that we can absolutely keep him alive, but I will do my best not to kill him on purpose.”
Dorian: “Excellent. You have made the right decision, young man.”
Dorian plops a bag of coins on the table. “I suppose 200 gold ought to get you supplied.”
Rikard Castleberry: “Does this poison require just contact with the skin?”
Dorian: “No, it must enter a break in the skin or be ingested.”
Dorian: “Probably you will need to provide the break.”
Rikard Castleberry: “Local or will the effect spread?”
Dorian: “He will be entirely unable to move for a few minutes.”
Mistress Bianca: “Well then we better paddle fast back here before it wears off.”
Dorian: “Well, you can bind him.”
Rikard Castleberry: “Ropes and a gag will work afterwards.”
Mistress Bianca: “He is a wizard. He can shoot fireballs out his eyes.”
Rikard Castleberry: “Can I poke out his eyes Dorian?”
Mistress Bianca: “I don’t need to move or say anything when I cast a spell.”
Bart pictures fireballs coming out of Bianca’s eyes.
Dorian: “I promise that once you bring him back, if his eyes are to be poked out, you can do it.”
Rikard Castleberry grins widely.
Rikard Castleberry: “Well then, shall we go hunting after this announcement?”
Dorian: “It would be better if you left now and came back within 3 days.”
Mistress Bianca: “Do you have anything to knock him out?”
Rikard Castleberry: “I was thinking blood loss.”
Dorian: “Do you mean Darren…or Lenar?”
Rikard Castleberry snorts.
Mistress Bianca: “I know this is a strange concept to most of you, but bind him might not even keep him with us. I have read of people being able to vanish from one spot and reappear somewhere else.”
Rikard Castleberry: “That sounds familiar.”
Dorian: “I’ll have some S’tivate sent to your boat. Get that in him and he should be out a few hours.”
Rikard Castleberry feels a twinge of memory on his chest.
Mistress Bianca: “Hell yeah it does, we know he can go invisible.”
Bart: “The spirits will provide if what I fear is true.”
Dorian: “Well, then, I’ve enjoyed our talk. I wish you success.”
Mistress Bianca: “Better send us enough to keep him out for days.”
So what supplies will you be buying with your “hard” earned 200 gold?
Rikard Castleberry: “Water, bandages, a gag, a blindfold, a sap, 2 days worth of food.”
These supplies are mundane and cost little until you get to the rations. They are as expensive as you remember. After all is said and done you are outfitted for 3 days in the swamp at a cost of 20GP with the supplies you have listed.
It is noon by the time all is arranged and you are at your skiff, which is loaded and ready to roll.
Mistress Bianca will take her extra 45 gold and pocket her share.
Darren hands to Rikard 45 and to Bart 45 and takes 45.
You shove off amidst widespread efforts to make the village festival ready.
About an hour later you pole near the ruined bridge. It seems abandoned.
Darren loads and readies the giant crossbow.
There is nothing to see as you approach the pylon.
Darren: “Bart…can you smell that?”
Rikard Castleberry: “Looks like business as usual out here to me!”
Bart: “Cheese sometimes does that too me.”
Bart: “Or are you talking about the fire?”
Darren: “Yes, someone has definitely been here recently.”
Darren: “Want to check it out?”
Darren: “Didn’t u guys have some altercation here?”
Rikard Castleberry: “We’ve had a lot of altercations.”
Darren: “Well, a good lookout sometimes never gets old.”
Bart heads upwind towards shore
Mistress Bianca: “Focus.”
Mistress Bianca: “We lack it.”
Bart: “I gave up fighting it.”
Mistress Bianca: “I don’t want to stop.”
Bart jumps out for a quick check of the shore for the fire.
The fire is from the top of the ruins. It has been out for about a quarter hour or so by your estimate.
Mistress Bianca sighs.
Bart: “There was someone here 15 minutes ago.”
Bart: “Anything else?”
Darren: “Yes, I knew it was very recent, can you find any tracks?”
Rikard Castleberry: “It could have been anyone, really. Odds are it was not our quarry.”
There are no tracks to be found where you are.
Darren: “Well, never mind then.”
Bart: “It seems pretty clean. Not sure where they went.”
Bart throws sand around him.
You are certain there are no invisible enemies about.
Bird calls and insects buzz as they ought.
Rikard Castleberry: “We should really continue on, since we are on a time crunch.”
Bart: “Unless they entered the ruins in some way…”
Bart heads back to the skiff.
The next 12 hours are grueling, but you eventually reach what you believe are the Ruins of Harlass Orn. As you approach the large island you see clearings where previous expeditions have been.
Mistress Bianca: “Watch out for skeletal footprints.”
Rikard Castleberry: “What about just skeletons?”
Mistress Bianca: “Nah.”
You find a good clearing to pull ashore at. The trees here have been uprooted and laid out to provide a solid area to land.
Up a light sloping hill you can see an old dig site.
Bart: “Guess that’s our stop.”
Rikard Castleberry stretches out as they land the skiff and prepares himself.
A cleared area shows signs of scattered digging. Probably Yavanna Culand’s work, and fairly recent since the foliage has not yet reclaimed the site. Moss covered stone blocks litter the ground, the edges and corners worn smooth by time. A few have been overturned to expose bare rock.
Two low walls rise from the center of the clearing, joined together at a 120-degree angle. Ranging from knee height at the ends to chest height at the vertex, the walls are scored with ancient pockmarks and ragged scrapes that resemble claw marks. You have not seen such markings on other Harlass Orn ruins.
Darren exits the skiff and readies his gear.
Bart secures the skiff and joins Rikard.
Rikard Castleberry: “This place appears to be recently been through. Is there a trail Bart?”
You are perhaps 40 yards from where those two walls meet.
Mistress Bianca gets out after it is pulled up to land a bit.
Bart: “Do we head in now or wait for morning?”
Rikard Castleberry: “We may as well head in now.”
Rikard Castleberry heads up the obvious trail.
Mistress Bianca: “Wait here for the night.”
Bart: “How about over there? “
Bart walks over to Rikard.
Bart and Rikard head up the hill.
Mistress Bianca and Darren look at each other, they are alone, together.
Darren shrugs and follows, keeping a worried eye out.
Rikard Castleberry mentally prepares himself for a trap.
You see the rise of the walls and get a good look at the ancient pockmarks.
Mistress Bianca grumbles and follows.
Bart looks for a good place to make camp.
Suddenly, the space between the walls sparkles as if innumerable droplets of water are suspended in the air. An electric tingling rushes over your limbs, and the hairs on your arms stand on end. Light reflects from the glittering points in a kaleidoscope of color, gaining intensity until you are momentarily blinded. A sharp crack like God’s own bullwhip rends the air.