Tears of Salt
- 1 Summary
- 2 Diary
- 2.1 Chapter One - Tribes in the Grass
- 2.2 Chapter Two - Never say “Yes” to a Demon…
- 2.3 Chapter Three - Into the Storm
- 2.4 Chapter Four – Something is Broken…
- 2.5 Chapter Five – How do we fix this?
- 2.6 Chapter Six – What do Horror-infested Hydras eat?
- 2.7 Chapter Seven – A Chilly Reception
- 2.8 Chapter Eight – Blood from the Sea
- 2.9 Chapter Nine – An Unbearable Challenge
- 3 Mil Sci
- 4 Loot
- 5 Calendar
Return to Scribe notes
Adventure:Tears of Salt On Plane: Pasifika
Session: Spring 814
Night: Friday normally
- Keith Smith - Phaeton
- Jacqui Smith - Brigetta
- Alan Mason - Hamish
- Antonio - Boabdil
- Helen Saggers - Rowan as a second adventure
- Opposed rolling will be in use.
- Spells will not stack with shaped items, but highest figure may be used.
- Mil Sci to use egg timer, and keep party actions rolling quickly. Bonus EP awarded for Mil Sci or other nominated player keeping this operating reliably.
Pasifikan Tribal Shamans.
The Shamans from Pasifika have been working on quickly building several new towns for all the refugees flooding to the northern islands (mainly Rangiwhero) as a result of the recent upheavals. However at the site of the ruined city of Attica, something has been disturbed, resulting in an Old God of the Region laying a curse of salt and destruction upon Rangiwhero. The Doom appears targeted at those of the same 'blood' as those who disturbed whatever it was, meaning that all the locals are unable to approach the ruins to determine what is going on, so they require a party from Seagate to investigate. They advise that no-one of Pasifikan descent or anyone pacted to a potentially opposed power or god also should not apply.
They also wish to advise the party that the magical oddities reported several seasons ago are still in effect. So magical travel will be slower amongst other things.
20,000sp each (advanced to the guild). Expenses for each individual are expected to be paid from this.
20 Arcane Points
30,000sp bonus for successfully resolving the matter such that Attica can be settled..
Additional Arcane points may also be awarded
Additional payments possible for solving of things above & beyond the initial brief.
Chapter One - Tribes in the Grass
Back at the Guild after several years in Caledonia fending off the drow and their goblin pets, I find myself in yet another Guild meeting room, joined by Rowan and Phaeton and a young man I did not recognise. He introduced himself as Boabdil. A Guild representative explained that we were wanted to fix a problem in Pasifika. Apparently someone has annoyed an ancient deity and brought a curse of salt down upon the island of Rangiwhero. Which might not sound like much, but a body cannot drink salty water, nor grow crops in salty land. They cannot deal with it themselves, because that requires someone not of Pasifikan blood. After some discussion, we decided to travel to Pasifika via the portal in the Sea of Grass. Phaeton bought restoratives and waters of healing. I arranged for a greater enchantment.
Phaeton: When I’ve built my tower…
Guild Security: And then we’ll lay siege to the evil mage.
Brigetta: Once they start building towers, you know they’re trouble.
We set out for the portal to Pasifika, flying on star wings. It wasn’t a great flight that day, we caught a few unpleasant updrafts, and didn’t get as far as we might have done. Thankfully, it wasn’t too windy. After six hours we landed for lunch; past Brastor and just inside the Sea of Grass. In the afternoon we flew on, and on into the night, and got a nasty cross-wind. With the result that we got a bit lost. So we landed and camped. I set an alarm to trigger on more than the number of sentient entities in the party, large animals, or undead. In the morning Phaeton would do our defence and flying magic, while I did my katas.
1st watch: Brigetta and Boabdil
2nd watch: Phaeton and Rowan
We were alerted by the alarm. But there was no sign of anything out there… just birds chirping. In the dark… and they were the kind of birds that chirp in the daytime. In a moment, a dozen tribesmen sprang up out of the grass, wielding spears and the like. Boabdil spoke to them in Arabique, and we learn that the lake where the portals are was sacred to their tribe, the tribe of the vulture. We had to pass a trial of strength or of service to the tribe. For this service, we could steal the totem of the tribe across the river, a golden eagle in a cage. In the meanwhile, the tribesman offered salt and we shared a meal together. Then we discussed what to do next. And went back to sleep.
We got up and had breakfast, and then used crystals of vision to look around the area. The settlement of the eagle tribe appear to have a good five hundred people. In the centre was a gilded cage in the form of a dome with an eagle in it. When we sent the point of view into the cage, the eagle ate it… much to our consternation. So we tried again, and snap, it ate the point of view of my crystal ball too. So, realising that this eagle was no mere beast, and that capturing it quickly and easily was most likely beyond the abilities of our small group, we decided to go talk to the tribesmen of the vulture about the trial of strength option. We soon learned that showing off magical spells does not count as showing strength. In the end Boabdil fought their champion and it was enough. We were then told that we might use the gate tomorrow.
Chapter Two - Never say “Yes” to a Demon…
Hamish: It’s just the standard boiling blood…
Brigetta: You mean there’s a standard for these things?
After our morning preparations we flew to the portal. There were about a hundred tribesman there, from one of the major tribes, I thought. They ignored us, as we headed for the portal. Phaeton checked that the destination was Alusia, and we went on through.
We found ourselves in the ancient city of Pacifica, which was now swarming with sea elves. He asked, “Are you peaceful?” and when we answered in the affirmative, simply instructed us to carry on. There was a tremor in the ground. We took to the air, somewhat slowed by the magical inhibition about the place, and after four hours, arrived at the trading post. We landed outside the palisade. It appeared to be quite busy. Now, I happened to have read somewhere that the council of shamans would be on the island of There were learned that there are lots of people arriving at Rangiwhero, all the time. The Pasifikans are abandoning the southern islands. And they’re coming here. The tribal shamans are busy purifying water. We went to the temple of Tangaroa, and learn from an acolyte that the annoyed deity was named Poseidon, that the people who did the annoying are dead, and that they were building something in a place called Attica. But if we wanted to talk to the shamans we must go to Kailua Kona. Which would take days of flying from island to island. Phaeton told us that Poseidon was not a nice god, well known for tormenting sailors and ships who annoyed him, and for bulls…
And then a stench of the sea filled the air… and a black dragon materialised and then the temple explored. Phaeton had mentioned Hades. Three times. And then Phaeton prevaricated… and was struck down, after inadvertently giving the god permission to inflict his judgement. The explosion brought a number of shamans and warriors running. The temple had been deconsecrated. And re-consecrated to someone else. We learned that we all had been infected with a virulent demonic-level disease that had been inflicted by a demonic power. Apparently the demonic entity who had turned up was Astaroth, acting on behalf of Hades. Boabdil and I managed to throw off the infection with the help of the healers, but the others would die within days. They preserved Phaeton’s body – he appeared to be resurrectable - and told us that the healer who could bring him back was most likely on Kailua Kona.
We took a ship for the day’s journey with Phaeton’s preserved body to Kailua Kona. Fortunately, the healer on the ship managed to cure Rowan and Hamish on the way. The island had twin volcanic cones, and there were shrines built into the side of the hills. We went up the hill towards the shrines, and were met by an old gentleman who was the healer. We were told to head up to the main temple, on the pathway to Pele. A man was performing a ritual in front of a fire. And then a Phaeton-shaped flaming spirit figure stepped out of the fire and joined us. We discussed the mission. The ancient gods of the island now known as Rangiwhero were taking a personal interest. The shamans don’t know exactly how it happened and they can’t find out, because they can’t go there.
They suggest that we should walk the paths of pilgrimage to Pele and make an offering. So at dusk, that is what we did. There were choices… exchanges of energy. Some bigger, some smaller.
Boabdil – weapon skills for party
Phaeton – lost some, gained some E&E or namer, improved skills
Hamish – party gained linguistic skill
Brigetta – gains access to some other thaumaturgies, spells changed
Rowan – uncertain
I tried asking Pele for wisdom, but her opinion appeared to be “burn it all”.
By the time we got back to the healer’s hut, it was dawn. Phaeton’s spirit vanished and then he came out of the hut, all fixed. The boat would take a while, because it would go via the southern islands, but not much longer than flying under the magical restrictions applying here. And we would be able to get some rest on a boat. So that’s what we did. As we approached Phaeton complained of seeing strange light currents in the air. We avoided a couple of tentacled beasts on the horizon…
Rowan on tentacled beasts rising from the bottom of the ocean: I dunno, someone kicked them out of bed…
Our vessel was chased by one tentacle beast… we looked at it with crystal of vision and learned that it was a tentacled horror. Phaeton deterred it with falling meteors. We got to the island and loaded cargo. The islands here are in a state of chaos, reefs rising from the ocean and falling, and lands appearing where there were none. Tuatangi used to be one island and now it was three… bigger islands. We arrived back at the trading post at noon, 2 ½ days later. Phaeton discovered that Eylore was no longer bound to an entity, although what that meant, we didn’t know.
We spent the afternoon preparing to go to Attica, stocking up on water and suchlike, rope and climbing equipment.
Chapter Three - Into the Storm
We spend the night at the trading post, in actual beds. Except that Phaeton reads the night sky, with this result:
How do you appease a god? Sacrifices, Offerings and the Raising of Temples
Rowan spends time divinating her staff and her golems, but doesn’t seem to want to talk about it. Then Hamish read the tarot for all of us. I felt something had changed and so it had. Pele had given and taken, so much that we’re going to have to find out what we can and can’t do. But first, we needed to get some sleep. Meanwhile, Antonio discovered kava.
We decided to head outside of town and find out what had happened to our magic, the hard but thorough way, casting spell after spell. I find that I have lost some of the musical spells that I rarely used, but have gained some significantly useful abilities, and some of my spells are considerably more powerful. The same has happened to the others. This will be fun!
Watch order: Brigetta, Phaeton, Hamish, Rowan.
Antonio has left a note to say he is visiting a shrine. We flew to the new town on the Cliff of Heroes. As we approached we were buffeted by winds and could see a storm coming. In the distance we could see the town had a wall, but was not fully built up inside. Around the outside the ground was blackened and disturbed. We landed and walked in, until we were challenged by the guards on the wall. There was a war band encampment in there consisting of shamen and warriors. Chief Pala was in charge, and welcomed us to his humble walled camp.
He told us of giant bronze bulls that were roaming the countryside and breathing poison and fire. They had blackened the ground. The bulls were called Khalkotauroi and Catoblepas. It seemed that an insubstantial horned monster appeared and struck down the earth-working shamans at Attica, and then released the bull monsters from the tunnels. It claimed to represent the old god of the sea, who must be appeased or fought. The survivor died and then walked out of the gate. Which would be somewhat troubling. I performed a ritual of recitation, but only learned something of the adventurers who had named this place and carved their faces into the cliff. And that this place was now a battlefield.
Then we began discussing what to do with Rowan’s stick… which was now a bit of a danger because it was unbound. Something do to with the horrors we had gone too close too. The shaman offered to get an earth elemental to seal the stick inside a sea cave. But Rowan wanted to also seal it in a bubble of force, and guard it with golems. So he summoned a bigger elemental to take her.
Some hours later, about dawn, Rowan came back, in company of a somewhat smaller elemental. I help her to sleep with slumber song, and woke her at noon, much refreshed. The morning was disturbed by a series of earth tremors.
Phaeton: I’ve got two balls… crystal balls, I mean.
Over lunch, we debated how to get there, concluding that we should fly part way, and then use my new longstrider spell to get the rest of the way. We try using crystal balls… Hamish saw cloud, Phaeton saw ruins in a vigorous storm. We concluded that we should fly low, and as far as we can. After half an hour we realised we weren’t getting far in the wind and rain. We decided to land and walk. Landing wasn’t easy either, on the exposed volcanic rock of this part of the island. I cast longstrider on us, and we headed off, across the rough terrain. We had only made ten miles when dusk fell. We found a campsite – under an over-hanging ridge, and made it a bit better, with golems and suchlike. I did a ritual of recitation and learned:
Poseidon cursed the land, turning it to salt.
Storm from one brother, earth tremors from another.
Daemons as their agents.
I was woken in the night in screaming agony. Hamish had messed up the targeting on a harm entity ward, and it got the entire party as well as the bull… that went charging off. Apparently it had failed its resistance too. Hamish was not popular.
It was longstrider all day. At least it is not tiring. We noticed cracks in the earth as we travelled, and an odour of brimstone. At dusk we found a similar campsite. But this time we refused to let Hamish ward the camp. We only made half the distance that day, because I failed the cast too many times.
That night at about 4am Rowan noticed a more significant earthquake.
In the morning Phaeton suggests looking for tracks – I found bull tracks a few days old, and some more recent humanoid footprints.
I asked the spirits what manner of humanoids passed this way recently. They answered, Pasifikans.
What were they doing? Travelling.
We strode on until lunchtime… the storm appeared to be dying down, but the tremors were getting worse. About mid-afternoon we came over a ridge, and we found about twenty Pasifikans blocking our way, about a hundred feet away. At fifty feet, they looked at us and pointed, indicating that we should turn around. They would not answer us. I did not think they were an illusion. Their auras indicated they were living humans, and not under any magic.
I called upon the spirits again, and this time a monstrous horned entity appeared in front of me. I tried speaking to him politely, but he was evasive, and would not answer my questions. Phaeton said that it was a daemon, a demonic earl. He offered to teach how to invoke him so that he might help us, asking nothing in return, and I agreed to learn. However, the invocation did not include his name.
And then a kitten turned up in Rowan’s backpack. A little black moggie with silvery blue eyes. Its aura read of cat. Hamish tried climbing the cliff, but fell… Next time, he’ll remember to make a ladder of bones. So we decided to back up and try a different route. Not so easy, but then there no Pasifikans blocking our way. We made a camp with somewhat better shelter, because the wind was more consistent. Phaeton did some magic and said that he could see shifting colours around us.
Morning came with sunlight, the storm had broken. It had moved south. Hamish decided to look through a crystal ball at the Pasifikan camp behind us, and Phaeton joined him… and they both convulsed. Something horrible had caused them to nearly die of fright. I should have cast courage on them… Thankfully, I was able to perform a healing ritual on them… and they got better, but we weren’t going any further that day. Or the day after…
Chapter Four – Something is Broken…
The storm had moved… south, and lessened somewhat in intensity. Especially to the north.
Brigetta: But I don’t think it’s shaking hands…
Phaeton: Shaking lands, more like it…
With the weather less blustery, we decided to fly. After a couple of hours we could see ruins below us, and a pebbly, rocky beach about a mile away. This looked like a reasonable place to land in the better weather we were enjoying. Over a ridge, we could see that the ruins were somewhat occupied, though by what manner of entity we could not tell. Hamish used a crystal of vision and identified centaurs, minotaurs and hoplite warriors, armed with spears and large round shields. Hamish read the tarot to see what might happen if we go down there and talk, and learned that the minotaurs would be aggressive, but someone would intervene. Rowan possessed a bird golem and flew down to have closer look. There were over a hundred minotaurs, a number of centaurs and hoplites spread across the city, but it was a large area, and there might be ways through. They were definitely occupying the place, with a view to keeping other people out. There were some holes in the ground they didn’t want the bird to see – which implied that they knew about magic, but were not paranoid enough to kill it. There was no sign of any Pasifikans.
So, we decided to approach. A mixed patrol of minotaurs, centaurs and humans came out. One of the centaurs spoke elvish. They said that the interlopers had trespassed on the sacred ground and must make obeisance. We tried to explain. Phaeton’s aura detection indicated the humans were indeed human, were pacted to Poseidon, and native to Alusia. We sensed that we were being treated as mere messengers. After casting comprehend languages we got a bit further, learning that they were looking for a master smith, one skilled in working with many metals. They also wanted the Pasifikans to make offerings and to worship Poseidon. The storm was the storm of Zeus, who does what he pleases. Somehow the desecration involved something broken, which needed fixing. But they would only explain further to the “master smith”. We learned that the spokesman’s name was Arcturus. In the end we left to go and fetch the “master smith” they wanted. We camped back where we had been camped for the previous two days.
Just as we were eating breakfast there was a sudden sharp earthquake, with no foreshock nor aftershock which tossed us around. Then as Phaeton was casting there began a massive rumbling sound from the south which continued for some time. At lunchtime there was more rumbling. At evening we should have been able to see the trading post in the distance, and we couldn’t. Something was definitely wrong. After some experimentation we discovered we were near the fire mountain called Mount Felicity. Our sense of direction had definitely been messed with.
In the morning we flew on, with Mount Felicity behind us, heading for the coast. As evening fell, we camped.
We flew on in the morning. At lunchtime we could see the coast, and by mid-afternoon we could see a large number of Pasifikans, all working on re-building another ruined city. There were some blacksmiths among them, but none were greatly skilled. It seemed that the most skilled would be on Kailua Kona. And there would be a boat here this evening. Which was the first thing that had gone right for a while. Although it did have a cargo of iron. Which was safely below decks.
We arrived at Kailua Kona at midday. The shaman was, not surprisingly, less than keen on the worship of Poseidon. The smiths could make their own choice. They have no idea what was going on at the Cliff of Heroes but would like us to find out. The smiths were at the other volcano. There was a village where common Pasifikan weapons were available. For anything special we would need to go to the smithies. There we found there was a Precious metal smith, a jeweller, an Armoursmith, a Weaponsmith, two foreign generalists and a former shaman. I chose to approach the foreigners because it seemed to me that they were less likely to be struck down by the lightning. The smith from Delph was not interested because he had come here to get away from the Hellenic gods, and wanted nothing to do with them. The other foreign smith, from the lost continent, was much more interested and agreed to the challenge, but required a ton of equipment - literally.
By evening the boat was ready to leave. Rowan had itemised much of the smith’s equipment, so it was more manageable. We reached Itimanuka Bay by evening on the 22nd, and got back to Attica on the 24th, having done a lot of flying by instil flight. The storm was still there to the south. It seemed to me that this was probably a good sign. It certainly meant for better weather for us.
Chapter Five – How do we fix this?
We landed Attica and met with Arcturus. He was pleased to see we had brought a smith. We asked if we might accompany the smith into the city, and were permitted, under a geas not to reveal anything until after the smith was done. They led us down a crack into what appeared to be an underground complex consisting of a combination of natural caves and worked tunnels. The crack, however, was fresh, having opened some time in the last year. There was a river, flowing towards the sea. Ahead were a pair of large doors, with symbols indicating this area was sacred to the Hellenic god of the sea. Inside was a temple-sized cave, which appeared to be a shrine of Poseidon. There was a chariot with a damaged pole. And a sculpture of a hand rising from the water holding a broken trident. Arcturus explained that this was what required repair. Rowan surmised that the use of earth elementals by the Pasifikans in the construction work above probably caused the damage. Which had, according the Phaeton’s aura sense, also desecrated the consecrated area. The area was Poseidon’s grotto, although it looked more like it had been a harbour of sorts.
We got busy with our divinations while the smith inspected the damage. We learned that they were both holy relics, the magic of artefact strength. They had a number of powers. The trident had powers over wind and storm. The chariot conferred water-breathing on its driver, command over fishes and the ability to travel rapidly over or under the sea. They were artefacts, even in their broken state. The two artefacts were brought here by one the rulers of this city long ago, probably from the Hellenic Isles. He had them blessed in the waters of the lost spring in the Isles of Adventure. The trident has been used to quell a great magical storm, and has at some point been wielded by an avatar of Poseidon. The chariot was once used in a great rite of sacrifice.
It would take at least two weeks for the smith to do the physical smithing. But he could not repair the magic. We would need to find something to do that. A massive source of mana. Massive amounts of elemental water, perhaps? The smith gets started, setting up a forge and also a number of shields which appeared to be summoning shields – but not of the usual sort.
We spent some considerable time trying to figure out how to get the necessary mana. A young man in true silver plate came in and set up camp in the cave. He said he was watching the artifacts and his name was Bill. But there was little he would do to help us.
After some discussion we concluded that the closest logical place to find the source of sufficient mana would be the Cliff of Heroes. Rowan’s friend the stick might well make a suitable container, or it might be the problem. Because we’re not entirely sure what has happened to it. Or indeed, exactly what has happened there. So, before leaving, I sent a message via whispering word to the bartender at the Trading Post, explaining our plans, to be passed on to the Guild if we did not return. On discussion with the fellow calling himself Bill, Hamish learnt that he had means to store mana, that he would assist if summoned, and that I already knew how to summon him.
We prepared to leave, and then headed south. We flew about half way, and landed. Then, I cast longstrider and we started walking. Shortly, we saw ahead a humanoid figure and a number of flying creatures. We could not see clearly because of the storm. Phaeton began preparing as I called out, and was struck with fire. He called back but was inaudible over the storm. Then Hamish prepared and was also struck with fire. I prepared and cast clairaudience, then sent the ear out. Finally, after we established communication, he responded with, “Who are you, what are you doing, and where am I?”
Chapter Six – What do Horror-infested Hydras eat?
We explained that the name of the world he had arrived in was called Alusia. I introduced myself and the party. He said that he was from Atlantis and had come through a rift. He called himself Talus. He asked to negotiate with the locals for a piece of land – an area about ten miles in radius, and wondered if we would be able to negotiate on his behalf. In return for the land they offered warrior enhancements and tattoos – same for us. As he came closer we could see that there was a reddish aura about him. Phaeton kept on talking, telling him too damn much! Talus did admit that there had been a landslide, the cliff was collapsed, that there was a giant eyeball on a plinth, on a floating island of faces – presumably the eye on the stick all grown up. They had fought two large and strange hydras – which we surmised might be the horrors that scared Hamish and Phaeton almost to death. We might be able to borrow the eyeball in a month. Then we parted, with intent on our part to find someone to negotiate with.
We got out of the storm and flew the rest of the way to the trading post, arriving around sunset. There we got together with some chiefs and shamans and explained what had happened. This would cause problems. There would be a large number of displaced Pasifikans with nowhere assigned to live, with the planned settlements at Attica and at the Cliff of Heroes being destroyed, or rendered unavailable. They will not settle a place sacred to other gods. It might, however, be possible to settle some through the portal on Paleolithica. If so, they would like us to help with some of the larger beasts. Alternatively, if we can figure out a way to do it, they would considering settling them on Zeylandia – but it is three thousand miles south.
In conclusion, it was decided that we should go and tell the peoples at Attica the formerly Cliff, now Isle of Heroes that they can stay put. Then we deal with the hydras. Then clear out stray monsters on Paleolithica.
We spent most of the day flying towards the Isle of Heroes and camped on the edge of the storm.
Talus met us – the winged creatures were gargoyles – some large, some small. They were settling on the isle. There were traces of other creatures. Talus took us across a causeway to the island and in through tunnels to a crystal cavern where we saw the eye on its plinth. It was explained that it would take a month to get ready, because removing the eye would destabilise the island. It would be hard for them to go back to where they came from because there is not enough magic, and the rift remains unstable – when we saw it, it looked like a tear in space. One is above the island; one below, which occasionally dips to sea level. These are not connected to the magic of the island, but to each other. Talus introduced us to some of the others. They planned to stabilise the landslide and farm on the plateaus. We spent the night.
28 Thaw We flew to Attica. As we flew in, Phaeton noted that the Pasifikans here included some of those we had seen at the Cliff of Heroes. Arcturus said they would talk to their god about making the storm go away if we gave our word that we would within the month, bring the eyeball to fix the problem.
The Pasifikan shamans took our oath on this, although they now serve the Hellenic gods, having been rescued by them. They told us that the horrors came out of the edge of the rift and into the hydras. They weren’t prepared for horror-infested hydras! But the gods got them out of there, at least most of them. He suggested we try the hot pools, as a place that hydras would like.
We used crystal balls to scout out the pools. There was definitely signs of large creatures, but we could not see the creatures. There was plenty of cover though, not including the pools themselves.
Phaeton: What do hydras eat?
Rowan: Anything that’s not fast enough…
Phaeton read the night sky and learned:
Many and few are the hydras, but only two that are of note.
Slay them and the brood shall not breed.
We had to go the trading post to get some Greek fire. Which took two days there, and two days back.
We landed and tracked the hydras, to an area full of steam, mist and undergrowth.
We decided to send golems in first, to flush them out, accompanied by meteor showers. This worked. Quite well. There were two of them. As they came out, we targeted them with magic, and waited for them to come to us. I was poisoned quite quickly, but figured that curing it would just be a waste because it would probably poison me again (note to self – hydra poison is not entirely natural). A pair of golems fended off one, Antonio and I tackled the other one, while the others dumped magic on them. Or under them, with Rowan putting a smoking magma below the one the golems were fighting. I got one solid endurance blow on my one… but it otherwise kept blocking me. Eventually a bunch of Phaeton’s star bolts impacted and the one I was fighting stopped moving. Then we were down to whacking the heads and burning the stumps. The other one got down one of the golems and attacked Phaeton who somehow squirmed out of the way. Then that one stopped moving – and we had that one to deal with. The real problem was that when we killed each hydra, it popped out a lesser horror, which proceeded to hurt us grievously as we hit them. So, we had to go back to the trading post to get healed up.
Chapter Seven – A Chilly Reception
With some help from the local healers, we were ready to venture forth once more. We were approached by one of the tribal chiefs who had been talking to us about the land negotiations. He wanted us to go through to Paleolithica and check out some unusual behaviour on the part of some of the big predators not far from where they are logging the forests for building material. Also, there appears to be an area of unusual cold that they would like investigated.
Rowan: I can have as many double-headed or double-tailed coins as I like.
Brigetta: But you cheat!
Finding that we have little in the way of cold-protection magic with us, we purchased cold-weather clothing, tents and blankets, and loaded them onto a pack golem – no pack mules being available. We also purchased provisions, mainly bread and dried fish. And some healing potions. Phaeton started muttering about finding celestial poles or some such.
We headed on through the portal, and flew down the river. We reached the logging camp around midday. There was a small horde of people here, cutting trees and guarding the people who were cutting the trees. The wildlife was, by and large, staying away. By nightfall we had reached the coast and prepared to camp for the night. My inclination was to find cover, while Hamish favoured a more exposed position on top of a headland. Boabdil as party leader settled it in favour of looking for shelter, and I found us a large cave by a sandy beach. Searching the area, I found scraps of large scales, which were too old to get much of an aura from. The rock seemed cooler than it ought to be. There were no bats in the cave either.
When I asked about large creatures in the area the spirits answered….
Serpents from swamp, sailed and gone.
No answer to questioning about the cold… as if the spirits did not understand.
When I tried a ritual of recitation I learned: Generations of great hunting lizards lived in this cave, and hunted this area.
But as we slept and watched, it seemed to us that it was unusually quiet, that there was not the same calls of gulls and birds.
We spent the day using crystals of vision to generally map the area. There is frost throughout a roughly circular area, more so than usual. But not circular enough to have a centre. Phaeton said that there was an inter-planar portal leading to Girvan in there somewhere. He’d been there. We decided to check it out, and by dusk we found it. It was functional, but hadn’t been used for three years. I asked the spirits of this place the same questions, and learned:
Beasts do not come here.
Cold is as cold does, cold winds blow from beyond our boundaries.
We decided to look at the centre (as well as we could determine it) of the affected zone, and found it to be in a forested area, where there was no good place to land. We found a clearing, still within the central area, and there we landed. We did notice that for the number of game trails, there weren’t quite as many fresh tracks as we’d expect. Soon, I came across a path of frost crossing the game trail. Nothing seemed broken, though. The frosty path seemed to be about thirty feet across.
I asked the spirits: What manner of thing passed this way?
They answered: Creatures from beneath.
And when? They passed this way early morning.
The boys started digging a hole. About seven feet down, the ground appeared disturbed. And deeply cold, to the point of permafrost… At nine foot, they broke into the tunnel. Which was about 15ft in diameter. Perhaps made by some kind of giant ice worm? Rowan decided to build a treehouse, where we would camp while she made some more golems.
Chapter Eight – Blood from the Sea
Mid-afternoon, after Rowan made a treehouse and two little flying golems, we returned to the hole, and sent the golems forth into the hole, one in each direction. They did not find anything other than tunnel. Then I realised that we had a problem… there was no way we could catch up with the creature in the tunnel before the duration on Rowan’s golems simply ran out. So, we needed a better plan. Phaeton tried reading the night sky… but got nothing useful. Hamish and I scouted but found nothing useful. Very frustrating.
So Phaeton tried asking some more questions of the stars:
Why are the alpha predators leaving? Fear
What are they afraid of? Their doom
What is the nature of their doom? Blood and screaming
Hamish: Oh good, we can investigate giant worms from the inside.
Rowan: And join the ranks of Guild members who have chopped their way out.
Brigetta: I don’t think clay golems would be very digestible, anyhow…
Phaeton: What do you think worms eat?
We attempted to interrogate a large herbivore – a woolly rhinoceros, but got nowhere, other than learning that it had seen a big scary thing that came out of the wet at some point. It ate the slower things.
So we flew to the sea, which took an hour and a half. We scouted the coast, and landed on a headland. The forest practically reached the shore. So we walked down to the rocky beach, and searched. I spoke to the spirits:
What large beasts have come out of the sea? None of late.
Where are the nearest large beasts? Beyond our bounds.
We found a cave to camp, which seemed to go a fair way… 300-400 feet, long and narrow. Fairly sure nothing big lived there. The night passed almost uneventfully, aside from a pack of wolf-things that menaced us for a while, and then decided we weren’t easy meat, and went away.
So we flew across to the other side of the inlet, and landed on a headland.
I spoke to the spirits again:
What large beasts have come out of the sea? One we do not know.
When? Since the last full moon
Where did it go? Inland
What manner of beast was it? Large. It was a fish and then it was hunter on legs.
We searched the beach, but found no tracks. But in the soft ground between the beach and the woods I found large wolf-like prints… paws three feet long… There was no sign of fur or droppings – which means it’s likely to be smart or magical, or both. Which given that it sounded like some kind of shapechanger would not be unexpected.
Chapter Nine – An Unbearable Challenge
We decided to seek out the spirits of the forest, if there is any such, because they might be able to give us more information. We began by using crystals of vision to map the forest in broad. We locate three clear and very frosty mountains, and a number of hill-tops. There was no sign of a specific heart. Then we took to the flying carpets to have a look around.
We landed on the closest of the peaks. Phaeton could see strands of earth, air and ice magic swirling around the peak, indicating a place of magical power – not surprisingly. I spoke to the spirits of the place:
Where is the heart of the forest? This forest that eats at my roots has no heart for I am here.
Where is the hunter that came from the sea? Great is the hunter that passed this way, fleeing a greater, but the greater I have not seen.
What manner of beast is the hunter? I do know because it did not enter my domain – I only know it because of the marks upon that which shelters in my roots.
What manner of creature shelters within your roots? Ripper of trees, hunter of rivers, eater of all.
(We deduced that the spirit just described a wounded king bear that has gone to ground, probably in a cave near the roots of the mountain).
We descended to the tussock level. But on the wrong side. Hamish talked to a rabbit, which knew of no caves near here. Which was not surprising as I pointed out, because the caves are more likely to be on the north side of the mountain where there are river running – in fact we were able to land perhaps a mile away from a big cave. We found tracks indicating a large bear was living in this cave.
Phaeton summoned us a pair of deer, which provided shooting practice, and dinner – the adult deer would be for the bear, and the young one for us. We heard series of approaching growls from within the cave, and made sure that the deer carcasses were between us and the cave entrance. As the bear emerged we could see that it was badly mauled around the face, foaming about the mouth, and had big infected slashes along the side… But as I tried the spell of soothing beasts, it charged at Hamish… who was yelling at it in bear talk. He took to the air, and the bear swiped at him. It missed, and then charged at Rowan. Who had cast a bubble of force, and consequently bounced. We gave up our attempt to aid the suffering creature, and took to the air. The bear grabbed the deer and retreated into the cave. It was screaming in pain and madness… and those were definitely wolf marks. We reported back to the Pasifikan camp, and told them what we had learned about the worm creatures and the wolf hunter. We decided to track the creature… I was able to find tracks but no traces, indicating it was hunting south along the coast.
On the fifth day, we found fresh sabretooth tracks, indicating that it was possible that the wolf thing had returned to the sea. We could not find any sea creatures that had could remember much of big sea creatures, aside from a suspicious absence of big predators like sharks – although they were returning. We checked the other coast and found signs of an amphibious predator in this area… something vaguely crocodilian.
Eight days after we left we got back to the logging camp, having concluded that whatever it was had most probably left the area, and in any case there was little we could do to find it.
We headed back to the location formerly known as the Cliff of Heroes, and now known as New Alvuron. They housed us in a place designed for humans, and offered us their warrior’s blessing. The island had been moved up the coast… We got the eye to Attica, where it was embedded into a shrine, where it sunk down roots, and was subsumed into the artefacts, which mended them. There were now a number of Delphians here, and they offered a blessing from Athena.
The High Lord of Alvuron informed us that the warrior’s blessing would be available for a while to Guild members who pledged themselves to the defence of the islands. It would increase our physical abilities if they were low, and increased maximums. It also uncapped fatigue, and gave an immediate bonus to fatigue.
- Two hours rituals.
- One hour breaking camp.
- Four hours travel.
- One hour rituals at lunch.
- Five hours travel.
- One hour setting camp.
- Ten hours sleep.
|Coruscade||12||+26 melee defense, +13 close defense||6 hrs 30min||Y||-||-||-||-|
|Resistance to Light||20||42MR v Magical Light||2 hrs 30min||Y||-||-||-||-|
|Greater Heart Rune||8||Heals 7 Endurance||9 days||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y|
|Rune of Willow Healing||8||Heals 3 EN for 10 pulses||16 Hours||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y|
|Ithans Armour||8||80 pts ablative||8 Hours||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y|
Pilgrimage to Pele
- Boabdil – weapon skills for party gained, minor sacrifice lost.
- Phaeton – 3 * Unknown spells gained , Blending, Web & Fear lost, slight spell changes, all out of college counter-spells lost & minor items.
- Hamish – party gained linguistic skill, slight spell changes, Minor sacrifice lost.
- Brigetta – gains access to X other thaumaturgies, spells changed, X * Spells lost Minor sacrifice lost.
- Rowan – Unknown gain, Minor sacrifice lost.