Skin Trade

From DQWiki
Jump to navigationJump to search

Scribe Notes

Would someone please explain...

The reason for this strange behaviour
In exploitations name...
We must be working for the skin trade.

Healers of the revolution gave us, the potions we desired.
Besides being absolutely painless its a question of compromise
You've got steel, its so cool,
Get angry at the shamen then go back you fool
So big deal, its what rules
When it comes to making money, say yes, please, thank you...

The adventure takes place on the Isles of Freedom


Adventure: Skin Trade
GM: Mandos
Session: Autumn 808 wk
Night: Monday at Chez Ellis
Level: Medium/High
Style: Investigative

  1. Everan - Scholar played by Dean Ellis
  2. Haann Uberreich - Mind Mage Played by Ben Taberner
  3. Morgan the Orc - Non-mage played by Cherie Nouwens
  4. Phaeton - Solar Celestial/Master Healer played by Keith Smith (Mil Sci)

Victoria (GM Info) is a Female Erelheine Warrior played by Struan - Non-mage played by Struan Judd (Leader)

  1. Cher played by Sean English.
  2. Menolly - Earth Mage played by Karen Dransfield.

To be confirmed.
In Winter 807 a plague swept through a number of Western Cities, spread by amulets and powered by a curse. The ritual was removed by a Guild party and a number of herbalists, physicians and healers managed to bring the plague under control. In summer 808 the plague has once again flared up this time in the main port town of Setagen. With ships leaving this port bound for the Dragon Isles, Kinlu, the Eastern Kingdoms and other places even further afield there is concern that this plague could spread around Alusia.
Fearing a similar cause as the previous plague the Guild has been asked to track the source of the illness and remove it. As well as tracking the ocean going vessels that left port just before the infection broke out.
To be confirmed.

The date on the isles on the day of the Guild meeting is 2 Elephant, 11th Day of Sihaide's Forge in the year 51 Green Tempest.


People we've met

Asath, a Trorc
Chaaff, blue dragon of the Isles
Gruselig, the new Termite Shaman

Places we've been

Filgiso Forest
Insel der Freiheit
Alice's Swamp


19th Thaw - Shaman Kidnapped
1st Meadow - Shaman Killed
14th Meadow - Three Ships leave Setagen
15th Meadow - Plague determined, quarantine put in place.
16th Meadow - Cutters sent after ships.

Scribe Notes

Phaetons Notes

Available in a single page.

Scribe notes by Phaeton

Session 1

==== Day 1 ==== (1st Fruit 808 WK) It was about time I made an appearance again, as I was spending the last year of so making star maps. Besides, there was a plague in Insel der Freiheit that needed seeing to, and it was a flareup, similar to a previous one that a previous Guild party had dealt to (cf Save A Prayer). Except that this version seemed more insiduous.

The representative was a toga wearing human male who had been sent by Master Everan. He told us that just before the quarantine on Setagen went down, three ships had left the port. Fast cutters went after them but none of the ships had been seen again.

A reward had already been set for us but, when I touched mine, I got shocked and dropped it. Hm. Still, I guess we can sort something out later. Could be another Power involved, hopefully not demonic. They turned out to be some sort of soul protection that had to be inserted into the body and installed around the heart. Morgan was also a Master Healer so I let her get on with it as the first one was installed into Haann. As it went into place, it glowed blue then the wound closed by itself. What it did was to keep the soul in the body to make resurrections easier. Some of our party decided not to have them installed.

As it turned out, Victoria was selling an item that enhanced spellcasting. I was going to purchase it but Guild Security went for it then presented it to me as exchange for the 'heart soul holder'.

Other notes about the party:

  • No Dark or Light Walls or Webs around Morgan. She's both Light and Dark Aspected so both will hurt her. Not good.
  • Haann is pacted to Seir so he could get hurt by my Sunray. So .. getting between me and undead would not be healthy for him
  • Cher has a little lizard called Hatch who can communicate with the Knowledge Dragon on the Plane of Oz
  • Menolly also has a pet, a tiny spider monkey. She left the two dogs behind. Probably wise.

Guild Security also reminded us all that 'pants are to be worn at ALL times'. Something to do with Haann I suspect.

  Haann (the satyr) - And if you're lucky, I'll show you my Jade Staff

Victoria became the party leader and I got appointed Military Scientist. Menolly and I would contribute to the scribe notes.

To get to where we were going we had to fly to the Filgiso Forest. Wings were obtained from the Lord of the Bats (well one of his personal apprentices) and we headed off into the clear, starlit night, following our guide. On the way, we passed a volcano with some strange lights to the west. Finally landed at a lit area where we met a Trorc, Asath, who took a fancy to Morgan.

We then were led into a tunnel then though a portal. The side effect was that Morgan was illusioned to look human. Since orcs are killed on sight, this was for her personal safety. More trekking through tunnels later, we encountered a blue dragon (Chaaff?). He told us that he believed that the recent disappearance of Isreana is likely connected to the plague. She was the last fae left on the Isles.

More tunnels and portal short cuts later saw us at a dwarven city(?) where we were greeted, fed, refreshed, and shown to somewhere to rest.

==== Day 3 ==== (3rd of Fruit WK) Most of the party had to adjust to being halfway around Alusia from Seagate. Fortunately, since I had been on a night cycle, it wasn't so bad. After purification and breakfast, we headed out and headed down more tunnels before emerging in the sun at a rice paddy. And it was HOT - Victoria hadn't been kidding. Finally had to remove the armour I was wearing under my robes, it was that bad.

More walking and we found ourselves at the edge of a circular swamp (Alice's Swamp?). Guard towers were dotted around it with guards patrolling. This swamp was interdicted but we had to get in there. So I cast Witchsights on those that needed it, then it was Walking Unseens all around before we snuck in. Once we reached the swamp water, evidence of our passage was visible but it was soon apparent that they were more concerned about things coming out than things going in.

The swamp contained giant termites and we saw the mounds heading in. There is also a termite shaman. Finally we reached an island which had a spiky hedge on it. We went through the hedge and met Everan and a dwarven lad. We later found out that the lad he was the next termite shaman.

The victims of the plague required a combination of curse removal and healing to cure them. Unlike the last time there were no amulets involved. Cured victims would still get reinfected even if they were isolated and there was currently no idea what the vector was. The symptoms are boils, aches, nausea, fatigue and red-eye. Only the populace in the town of Setagen had been affected. There was an upsurge in the number of cases, monthly at the full moon, the next one being the 21st of Fruit. The first wave occurred 94 days ago (1st Frost 807). The original termite shaman, Isreana, went missing on the 19th of Thaw 807. The incubation period is two weeks and, according to divinations, the College of Exsanguination is involved. So far, the plague seems confined to Setagen.

Other dates, the King was born 19 Seedtime 807 and the 1st of Meadow 808? was when the last fae, Isreana's sister, was killed. She had since been resurrected and sent away from the Isles for her own safety.

Session 2

It was easier to use Kryanite for bad than for good but, like magic, it's really only a tool. It's what the mage does with it depends on whether it is good or evil. When I asked to examine a piece, I was given a refined crystal that was used by the last Termite Shaman to enhance healing magics. It was decided that it would be more effective in Haann's hands for now.

Also, going after the ships would be like looking for a needle in a haystack - and the needle was not made of iron so, no help from a lodestone. Instead we would head for Setagen and talk to the Namer there. So we left the swamp on the back of a giant termite.

On the way Haann read us a piece of poetry he had obtained from the dragon. It may not have any relevance to our current mission but it fitted with Everan's theory that the plague and curse was being caused by the original inhabitants of the island i.e. the fey in order to drive the current inhabitants off.

  Morgan - Who wrote this piece of doggeral?
  Haann - The dragon
  Morgan - It's fantastic!

Finally, that evening, we reached the edge of the swamp and I started casting Wings on everyone. Partway though, I got an uncontrollable thirst, jumped off the termite and started nearly inhaling swamp water. A small pert of me was thinking this was incredibly stupid but .. as it turned out the stuff was actually beneficial, having some healing properties. Both Everan and I took samples of the swamp water and mud for later analysis although I suspect that the magic will be lost once removed from the swamp.

Once the wings were up we flew 100 miles towards Setagen. We were flying above the low clouds but we could see the glow of the volcano near the city. Soon we could see the second one. Partway, I had to renew the Wings in flight.

Landing was ... interesting. We tried for the obsidian dock and two of the party ended up in the water. I managed to fumble, trip, and faceplant. Finally, once everyone was recovered, I counterspelled the Wings and we headed into town where we were shown somewhere to rest.

Day 4

I dreamt of fire. This had Everan concerned.

Morgan and I went to examine some of the victims. It was very hard to detect the curse itself in the patients but, in one or two, I was able to do so and determined that the centre of the curse was near the heart. We were told that, if the patients were cured and they were reinfected then the nest time around the symptoms would arrive faster and be worse. So I suggested, instead of trying to cure the patient completely, just alleviate the symptoms to minimise their suffering.

Meanwhile Menolly was wandering around town DAing everything. A while later she came back with a small collection of objects that she had detected the curse in. Cher used enchantment divination in them and detected some sort of 'blast pattern' as if the magic had struck the object on one side and passed through it. This gave us a vital clue in order to determine the origin point. Menolly had also ascertained that only humanoids were suseptable as all the plants and animals were free of curse and disease.

Everan had arranged for us to talk to the local Namer, Eloese, who was also attempting to determine what was going on. When we compared notes, during lunch, we discovered that she had been doing some divinations and discovered she could detect the curse magic flows only five minutes on either side of midnight on the night of each full moon. The flows looked like a web all over the city connecting all the infected people but, there was a bright spot, somewhere in the city, that wasn't associated with a person. It looked like a flare. The web pulsed, like a heartbeat, presumably draining each individual on each pulse. During that time, the curse and disease was reinforced.

Day 5

We went out to try and find the flare site, splitting up into two teams to go around the city in opposite directions. As far as I was concerned, the city was one large crime scene so I was carefully documenting everything that was detecting as cursed, including what orientation it was. It was hoped that we could triangulate to the source.

Several divinations led us to one block and two potential suspect buildings, the bath house, and the Balai Temple next door. The temple had a statue of three people sitting crosslegged and linked together. On a hunch I looked up to the roof and could see a glow going up as high as I could see. I told Everan about it and he said that it was the Guardian Spirits. DAs told us that the curse was in the spirits as well. I did some quick calculations and given the height, I theorised that this was the source of the flare, as the curse impacted on the spirits.

Everan tried to 'sense' their lifeforce and passed out. So Haann attempted to walk him out by 'controlling' his body. He ended up being blasted backwards about forty odd feet and knocked out. There were cries of 'Witch! Witch!'. We had been told that they didn't like magic around here, so Morgan grabbed Haann while Cher helped me with Everan, and we vacated the area, hiding out nearby before the angry mob with pitchforks and burning torches turned up.

I left Haann to Morgan's tender care while I used smelling salts to try and bring Everan around. My empathy was telling me he was completely exhausted after an intense session of spellcasting. Both of our patients came around a few moments later with Haann complaining of a splitting headache. I would have prescribed a dose of Soothe Pain and poppy extract but he was Morgan's patient.

It was getting late by now and, with two of our party temporary out of action, we headed back to rest the night.

Session Three

(missing - refer to Menolly's notes)

Session Four

Day 7

Finally found my pen again. Darn thing got buried in the bedroll. Anyway we saw Vidal and Everan gave him a synopsis. The crystal on top of the Bali statue had been swapped out with one of a slightly different shape. The originals are diamond shaped but this substitution was offset, more kite shaped. The plague was also affecting it, but divinations had told us that the crystal had been designed and built to to disrupt the usual greater ritual. Obviously whoever had done it knew quite a bit about how the original ritual worked as they would have had to reverse engineer it then rewrite it in a subtle manner. Had Isreana been kidnapped to start the initial ritual? After all she was initially killed on Beltaine.

Vidal told us that the the only persons likely to be able to detect the mana lines back to the source would be the Shaman of Life and the Shaman of Death (Lord Arrindale). Also there was another concurrent attack on Setagen which he described as dream attacks. The dreams Everan and I got could have been side effects. They were aimed at Romache, the red dragon that lived in the volcano nearby. The dream attacks were caused by the Children of the Rifts - some sort of undead that took over dead children. The orcs were also on the move, heading into the Devil's Claw which isn't far, by boat, from Setagen.

For payment, he wanted to know our plans and would help us decide the best one. Our initial goal is to find the source of the plague curse so he suggested that we consult with the Shaman of Life who resided near the Blue Lake, which was located near Boenoel. However, proximity to the Life Shaman had the unfortunate effect of aging people nearby. He offered us short-lived sentients a potion that would counteract that but he would requite blood. I was rather suspicious that the College of Exsanguination was involved but, once Everan assured me it was not, I decided to accept. That proved to be a mistake.

We were handed a goblet and we drank. But, as I did so.. I felt great pain and passed out. Everyone else was unaffected. When I came around, I realised what had happened, remembering a side note in somebody's notes (can't remember who or where I saw it) that the five dragons were analogs of the five Powers of Light, they weren't ordinary dragons, ... and Vidal was actually one of them. And having bargains with other powers and accepting gifts from them was a no-no. Probably why the original 'gift' back at the Guild had shocked me. I am SO going to have words with Sir Christopher ... long ones ... probably of a philosophical nature .. when I get back to Seagate.

Anyway I was in pain but I wasn't going to treat it .. if that was my punishment .. so be it. I guess I'll just have to take my chances. And I was hoping to learn from the Shaman of Life.

Near where Vidal was were some temples. One was a Western Kingdom church which had been constructed and dedicated to the Powers of Life by Sir Christopher. The other two, dedicated to the Balai, were near the village on the shores of the twin Lakes of Regrets, one each. I was amused to discover that Sir Kit's temple wasn't consecrated although it had been stated in his notes that it had been. The two Balai shrines were occupied by Kinsen monks and examination told us that the crystals here were untouched and the spirit lights above them were pure.

Everan then did a ritual in the boneyard.

Also nearby was a pagoda and we crowded into it. The internal portal transported us to a stone chamber in the dwarven halls. We headed down the tunnels, saw the ruling Council, and spoke to their mages. We then got fed, and what a feast it was. Today marked the anniversary of the formation of the Council.

Several hours later, after progressing through tunnels, we came out in a jungle, near a brook. We followed the brook down, about five miles, to reach the river. Once there, we used the magical boat we had been given. When dry, it was the size of a toothpick but. once it was wet, in enlarged to standard boat size. It would shrink again once it was dried. In that state, we would have to be careful not to misplace it.

Once we got underway, I decided to take the opportunity to meditate on the current situation and pray for forgiveness. As I did, I suddenly found myself sitting in front of a man clad in blue scale armour. He wanted to know what I wanted and I told him I was seeking forgiveness and explained the situation. He told me that I should be careful as, if I was involved in stopping this plague, I could be involved in a conflict of interests with my deity, Diancecht, as I would be aiding another deity. I thought about that and decided that, I'll deal with that when the time comes. Besides, saving lives is mine, and Diancecht's prime concern, and doing that, even if it aided another deity, should not be a conflict of interest. If I'm wrong, I'll take my punishment.

I found myself back on the boat. Apparently I had vanished for a short time, much to everyone's consternation. After I told them what had happened, Menolly concluded I had appeared in front of the blue dragon, and I was currently completely out of touch with my own god. She said that Sir Kit had been popping in and out a lot on their last outing, even going as far as taking other members of the party with him. Thank you Sir Christopher. You could have mentioned that too.

Finally arrived near the Grand Monastery of the Balai at dusk.

During the night, Everan contracted an infection. Morgan was able to fix it but was unable to determine the cause. So I stepped in to have a look, much to her annoyance, and was able to determine that he had been cursed with a weakening effect that had made him suseptable. Looks like one of Menolly's Strength of Stones had backfired with a delayed reverse effect.

Day 8

Next day, we went to the monastery, where we were told the crystals had come from. The monks were doing katas in the courtyard so, while we waited for the Balai Kinsen, we watched and Victoria joined in, with permission. I made some quick sketches of the forms, some of which seemed nearly impossible for a normal body to attempt.

Finally we headed to the main temple. The Balai Kinsen didn't seem to know what we were talking about and, when a monk was told to go up and examine the top of their, rather large, statue, there was no crystal there. However we had seen a rather powerful spirit light here. Incidentally it is possible to use these spirit lights for navigation.

We retreated to our camp to consider our options, Crystals of Vision confirmed there was no crystal visible on top of the statue but then I noticed something odd of the ornate carvings in the doorway. Sure enough - there it was. It looked like a perfect diamond. It had been tuned for good, it was untainted and used for soul storage and amplification.

Session Five

Menolly and I went to have a look at the paintings around the place but none of them revealed any relevant information. Meanwhile an appointment had been made for us to see the Balai Kinsen, so when the time came around, there we were. He was clad in deep blue coloured robes, as opposed to the rest of the monks we had met who were in red. All of them were under some sort of physical enhancement magic with no malign influences or curses. Again, no useful information was gained and we had decided to be discrete about the crystals in case the revelation of tainted crystals evoked an extreme negative response.

Dinner that night was a mixture of rice and vegetables. Reminded me of Shoji.

Day 9

We left the monastery and headed into the jungle. Finally we found an area where we could safely cast Wings and take off. After all, we had no desire to be shot down by the monks. Once airborne we flew to the twin lakes on the split level plateau. Between the two was a cataract, going upwards. The Blue Lake is the lower one so it was that one we headed for, landing on the edge of the plateau itself.

A short walk through the jungle got us to the lake shore. We could see fish in the lake, thankfully normal ones. The boat was brought out and we decided to go around the T shaped lake, clockwise. The 'waterrise' was two miles up the river.

We found a small village on the bottom of the lefthand arm of the 'T'. I could also see a soullight behind it. We were greeted by a group of villagers, one of which stepped forward and placed a banana on the ground. Everan wasn't sure what was going on but, apart from the absence of the spear wielding native, it looked very similar to a Pasifikan greeting ritual. So Everan stepped forward and picked up the banana. There seemed to be some consternation from some of the villages but, at least it didn't turn hostile.

We asked about the Shaman of Life, Garserril, but were met with blank looks. However, we were feasted and entertained. The mood became more friendly when Haarn started contributing to the feast. It was evident that there was supposed to be an exchange of gifts.

Their local witchdoctor was a short lived sentient and was runic. They don't go to the waterrise nor do they go to where the water boils, at the bottom of the 'T'.

The party kept going way late into the night, with singing, dancing, and drinking.

Day 10

Morning saw us back on the boat heading down to the base of the 'T'. If there was no sign of the Life Shaman down there, then we would go to the waterrise. I had acquired a rather young caterpillar in order to detect any time accelerations. I was also periodically empathising Victoria.

  "From the frying pan into the flier" - Victoria

Finally arrived at the boiling water area. I guess there must be a thermal hotspot under the lake in this area even though there was no smell of sulfur. My caterpillar was starting to look a bit older.

By the time we found the cave near the shore, the caterpillar had pupated. Also Victoria was aging at about a week per minute. The resulting butterfly flew away as we entered. So far, the rest of us weren't suffering any noticeable aging effects. Menolly's spider monkey had been petrified for its own protection. In a chamber, we found a lady who looked like a young Erelhein. Now, the aging effect was up to 75 days per minute (300 years/24 hours).

She told us that the curse ritual invoked great pain in her as she was attuned to the total life force of the Isles. There were many deaths and a demonic influence powered the ritual. The ritual was powered by sacrificing people in pain. The center of the plague was the same as the malign influence. Isreana was a great healer in her own right and it would be advantageous if, somehow, her skill could be transferred. The source was northwest of here as marked by a black stain on her dress. I was able to get a more accurate bearing by using the my planetarium to fix the direction with a guide star.

  "Never underestimate the ability of a guild party to scank up the works" - Morgan

As we were about to leave bolts of light from the shaman hit us.

Session Six

Back to Setegen. When we got there, we discovered that the six ships had been located, up a river. So we went there to investigate.

When we got there, we found that they had been docked. There was no sign of the crew. It was evident that the boats had been left there for the orcs to use. Markings on the hulls were evidence that slings had been placed around then at bow and stern and the boats lifted. We got rather suspicious about that. Suspicions were raised further when we discovered that the top of the anchor chains were warded with the Exsanguination Special Knowledge spell of Fleshstorm, with the triggering condition being sentient non-orcs. I was able to see the area of the ward so we were able to bypass it and get on board. However, most of the deck was also warded, this time with the spell Skeletons of Society.

It would be a while for the orcs to get there and we needed a Namer, so it was back to Setegen again to arrange to borrow Eloese to have the wards removed and also to get crews to get the boats out.

Session Seven

We needed allies to help deal with this entire situation. Menolly was also talking to every bug she could find, presumably hoping to get a message to the appropriate shaman. She was also on a search and destroy mission on spiders. Finally, a search of the library told us that the names of the months corresponded to the extant shamen - and there were quite a few. Finally we decided to try and get messages to the bat shaman.

The other thing we discussed was the no fly zone on the island. But Everan thought we had actually flown through it with no ill effects.

While the others flew off to see Romache, I stayed behind to see if Reading the Night Sky rituals would yield any useful information. Unfortunately, what I got was either nothing or inconclusive.

The others had a rather interesting time. They landed on a mountaintop and and pondered what to do next. Suddenly Everen was enveloped in flame, and and it hurt, a lot. All that was left was a pile of ash. Was it something he said? Menolly was next and it was definately looking like she was being burnt alive. The others waited a bit, and then they too disappeared, however there fiery transportations were without pain.

All the party appeared in Romache's presence, whole and unharmed, in the order of their disappearance. He was appraised of the situation and much discussion was done. Apparently all the dragons were able to communicate with each other and he had obtained a lot of information from Videl. Haann was also told that Romache had 'claimed' him. What that meant we had no idea. Once the audience was over Romache breathed on them and they reappeared just outside Setagen. They had to wait for the wings to drop off before entering the city.

Finally, it was back to where the boats were to get them all 'cleansed'. Everan attempted to make his bone construction raft and ended up imprisoning himself in a bone construction jail - complete with bars in the windows. After the laughter died down, we broke him out.

Eloese used a Namer Talent and Counterspell to get rid of the wards. I followed along to make sure they stayed gone as I was suspicious of resetting wards. Once the first boat was clear, it was checked for more mundane traps, and a nasty surprise was found in the hold. The bodies of the crew of at least two of the ships were stacked in there and they were badly decomposed, much too late for resurrection. Everan spoke with the dead and discovered that a group had suddenly appeared on the deck and slaughtered the entire crew. A few were killed by magic, the rest by the sword. The attackers were mostly human and the only odd event was a dark cloud on the horizon. Finally the hold was sealed.

Menolly spoke to a monkey and discovered that the monkey shamen lived in the Great Tree. A message would be conveyed.

Day 11

Early that morning, a group of twelve flew in to secure the boats. One of them is an airmage. Now that the situation was under control here, we flew off back to Videl's boneyard. It took most of the day to get there. It was discovered from Videl, that the Balai were split into three schisms, the good, the bad, and the undecided.

Session Eight

Day 12

Went to the dwarves and travelled through the caverns. Stopped by Chaaff where we were joined by Haann, a mind mage whom had sent for to help us [Edit: It wasn't until a few days later that we started to remember again that Haarn had been with us from the beginning. Were the Fates playing about? And, if so, why?]. We were also told that Shareal was to the south, rebuilding the cockroach army. Zahie was away for a couple of months.

After that, we went through the caverns some more and exited near the sound of running water. We soon found we were by the pool where the water nymph statue is, which I drew a picture of. There was no magic on the statue. Also, since we were in the 'no fly zone' in Waringin, Victoria tested the air, but nothing happened. Maybe, somehow, we had an exemption.

We made camp and stayed the night.

Day 13

I cast Starwings on all those who required it and we all took off towards Shareal's location. Unfortunately I soon discovered that the 'self-effect' backfire I had done had me only flying at half speed and, since it was essentially a curse, there wasn't much I could do about it at this time. So the rest of the party had to zig-zag a bit. However, this was a good thing as the ground below was heavily forested and we needed a clearing to land in. It was also a bad thing though as it extended our flight time requirements so, even with a mid-air recast, we fell short (not literally) of our objective by a few miles. It wasn't worth me having to cast another set of spells - and using yet another of Haann's restoratives, so it was decided to attempt a landing on top of the tree canopy.

Everan was able to construct a bone platform and we landed on it. Menolly and the others climbed sown but Everan decided to create a bone spiral staircase, and I decided to follow him. He needed two casts to do so and, on the second he managed to create a spiral staircase around himself, effectively trapping him. Fortunately we were able to prevent him from falling and get him down where the bone was broken.

A short walk brought us to a four sided obsidian pyramid with a single door. A stream flowed out of it which some of the party knew caused animal growth. During our picnic lunch, we wondered what the effect on a person would be if they drank it. From what we could tell from DAs, it would have an enhancement effect. So Cher drunk some and it was apparent that all her physical abilities were enhanced. So we got every empty potion bottle we could lay our hands on, mostly empty restorative vials, and bottled some, managing to get enough for one each. , including the spider monkey. Physical stats [STR, END, FT] double for two hours as well as adding trollskin. Victoria compared it to a potion that they got off the Riverman.

As we finished doing that, someone, Shareal, came out of the pyramid, accompanied by two giant cockroach. After introductions, we went into the pyramid, which we saw was one large room. Looking up, we could see that the roof was covered in cockroaches.

We had already determined that the source of the plague was in an area containing a warren of caves that Arrindale had previously inhabited. It seemed logical to me that, since a shaman can see through the eyes of their appropriate lifeform, and cockroaches tend to turn up in all sorts of places, that there was a good chance that there was a cockroach spy in the area. So, we followed that possibility and, sure enough, there were five cockroaches in useful places.

The first one showed us a mercenary company of six humanoids, camping in a cave mouth, consisting of 2 dwarfs, an elf and three humans. They did not look like natives of the Isles. There was also the possibility of four more nearby. The second cockroach showed us a large flat stone area. A Calimar mage was doing a ritual, in a pentagram, which involved removing the skin from a living victim. The skin was then carefully folded away and the skinned victim, still alive, pushed down a hole. The next image was deep inside the cave, which was well trafficked. This cockroach was in a large chamber containing a larger, and more elaborate, pentagram than the one above. Suspended above the center of the pentagram was a large Kyranite crystal onto which blood was dripping onto from above. The blood flowed down the crystal then dripped down into channels in the floor, filling the grooves making up the design of the pentagram. Looking at it, it was nearly full which implied the ritual was nearly complete.

The fourth image was of the bleeding, skinless, bodies that were in the pit, some of which were still alive. We surmised that was the source of the blood. The final image was a jungle image containing a stockade with forty people inside, victims still to be skinned.

To the southwest was an island where Calimar had been spotted.

It was apparent we now had to act fast to save as many lives as possible. Shareal cashed in a favour to summon the black dragon, Larth, who breathed on us, sending us to the shores of the Blue Lake, near where the river 'ascended' to the top lake. We followed the path for two hours into the jungle then up the cliff near the water-rise itself. Finally we reached a point where the path went behind the water.

Inside, we reached a cavern and soon found ourselves in a gentleman's library. Here was the Bat Shaman, Petrirod, who turned out to be a vampire, dressed in the style of the Western Kingdom. Since we couldn't prove Arrindale's actual involvement in what was going on, he wouldn't help us directly by attacking. He did tell us he would pay highly for Arrindale's head. He did offer however to do a ritual on us that would help.

We discovered through DA's that Petrirod was an E%E and what he cast on us was a permanent Rank 20 Greater and we were guarded against all scrying for the next two weeks. Finally we were taken to guest quarters to rest the night.

Session Nine

Day 20?

Lots of scrying into the cave complex with our collection of crystals of vision and plotting and scgeming later, we were ready to make our raid. It was decided to leave the fortress for now and try and do something about the ritual itself. So, a few hours before dawn, we were in the jungle facing the cave mouth.

Witchsights were put on those that needed it and so were armours of earth. We then drunk those potions we were given. and prepared to go in. The scries told us that there were six people plus the Calimar currently in the cave. Four were right at the cave mouth and, according to my DA, none of them were mages. Menolly then used one of her items to Quicken us all, and, after a sight mishap with one of the charges, succeeded in doing so.

Everan put down a Special Knowledge Counter on the ground which we all stood in, before putting up an Agony spell which covered the entire area and going right back into the cave. Fortunately all of us resisted, unfortunately so did all of them and one of them seemed to be completely unaffected. At the same time that the Agony went down, Cher disintegrated the barrier in front of the cave mouth and I tossed a black Bolt of Starfire at the one with the bow. Everan's attempt at a Whirlwind Vortex failed. While they were recovering from the initial surprise, Morgan and Victoria headed in to engage. Haann opened a box and released some sort of nightmare. Unfortunately, it decided to pick on Morgan. Haann realised what had happened, and closed the box.

An Exsanguination spell which had similar effects to an Agony then swept over us and only Cher was affected, even after the Exsanguination Counter I had previously placed on her. So I drunk my potion that allowed me to cast Counters like a Namer, and dropped the one on him. Meanwhile Menolly was putting Exsanguination Counters ahead of us to stand in.

The next spell that came out at us was a Necro Special Warrior and, by the way it moved, told us there was a Necro Special Counter in the cave mouth. Also heading out to us spellcasters was a rather large guy with a polearm that smacked into Everan, gouging into his face, while I was trying to deal with the Spectral Warrior. To my annoyance, it took me three attempts to get rid of it, and during that time, I was scratched with the polearm. Thank goodness for the armour that was under my robes. By this stage, two of the five opposition, still in the cave mouth, were down. We also became aware of a Blood Lich, deep in the cave, along with the Calimar.

Session Ten

The others were having problems with the other opponents so Menolly and Everan withdrew to help out. That left me keeping Halbert-Guy occupied, which I did by unarmed evading. I really should do something about learning defensive martial arts sometime. I was able to keep him occupied, and he only scratched me once, for a few minutes until Haarn and Morgan were able to help. However, by now, Menolly had suffered blunt force trauma to the back of the head and was knocked out. Also, the Calimar had put up a Scrum spell between him, the Blood Lich and us. This Exanguination College spell created a wall of fused bodies and living flesh.

I healed Menolly up as best as I could while the last of the mercenaries were taken care of. Then, while the others prepared to charge into the cave, I blasted the Scrum Wall with a Sunray to see what would happen. The result? Absolutely nothing. So the myth that the Scrum spell is an undead effect was busted.

When we got into the cavern, there was no sign of the Calimar or the Blood Lich. However, there was a pile of blood, pus, bone and rotted flesh which I suspected was the Blood Lich. Must have been created via the 'At Dawn They Sleep' spell from the College. The last magic to impact on it was 'Disciple', again from the College of Exsanguination.

Haann had a special crystal of vision that allowed the recent past to be revealed. What we saw was the Calimar grabbing a scroll from a rack, then disappearing into the area of the blood ritual. As it did, the Blood Lich collapsed.

We tried to determine what the ritual was for but there was no magic in the area of the circle. We were also unable to drain the blood off or disrupt the circle in anyway. Something seemed to be blocking any attempts. We did discover that the 'feel' of the ground in the circle was different from what we could see. Instead of rock, there seemed to be loose soil.

Everen summoned a minor undead to retrieve a sample and we were able to discover that it had a Plane of Origin of Korth. The remains of the Blood Lich also had that Plane as an origin. I began to wonder if a Dimensional Weaving Counter might do something to it.

Shareal turned up a bit later, after he had rescued the prisoners in the stockade. He had seen something similar before. calling it a 'Shallowing', and was a this end of a link to a similar ritual at the other end. The blood was holding it open. From what we could tell, the life threads were also going through it.

A cockroach was sent into the circle and we saw some sort of ritual on the other side on a hill near a cottage. Nearby was a forest and a stream. The threads lead into a black column of souls and there was a similar Kryanite crystal on the other side, presumably linked by a magical resonance.

It was finally decided to go through and deal to this ritual even though it was unsure if we were able to return. Just in case, I drafted a short note to any prospective rescue party.

After heading through we headed down to the cottage, especially since we had emerged at the top of a hill with the cottage at the bottom. As we did we discovered there was a life draining effect and Menolly's spider monkey had died. There was a column of light from the crystal to the cottage and all we could determine that it was protecting the ritual.

As we approached the cottage, the Calimar stepped out. He told us that this was his private plane and he was using the life force from Setagen to keep it going. Everan was most indignant about this and wanted to press home an attack. Inside, I was agreeing with him but wanted to explore any possibilities of negotiation first. But .. it was quickly evident that a showdown was imminent.

Session Eleven

At least three arrows thudded into the wall of the cottage behind the Calimar. At that instant, he collapsed. Now that definately came under the heading of 'we did not expect that'. So we pressed on, DAing areas ahead of us for any magical wards. I also dropped an Exsanguination Special Counter into the area we were advancing into - just in case. Menolly was starting to put them on us as well.

The Calimar struggled to get up, dry retching as it did. When he saw us coming, with obvious murderous intent, he looked at us as if he hadn't seen us before. Then it cast, causing a blast of magic to throw the leading members of the party backwards. The effect looked exactly like a Mind TK rage but we had already ascertained that the Calimar was an Exsanguination mage. So I DAed Haann for the College of last magic ton impact, and got Mind. Curious. Was the Calimar dual-colleged, like some Guild members, or had it somehow been released from some sort of possession, as Everan was theorising. However, at the moment, there seemed no way to test either theory.

I tried to DA the Calimar in order to find out how much the aura had changed but, alas, I was further away than I thought and it failed, much to Everan's annoyance. I was mentally kicking myself as well especially because once a DA fails on a target, it's aura remains incomprehensible until the next change of season. This meant there was no further information I could glean from it.

Morgan had a bad transition through the portal and was unable to help us. So, it was Cher and Victoria that finally charged in and began hitting the Calimar. The Calimar was still able to cast so, Bolts of Disruption and Phantasms were being fired at us. The phantasms were soon dealt with by Mind Specials from Haann and myself but we had to wear the disruptions. I took a hit before I put a Mind Special Counter on myself. I then moved over and behind Cher to keep healing her up as the Calimar was hitting her lots.

While this was going on, both Everan and Menolly noticed that, every time the Calimar was hit, something wispy would drift away. Between the two of them, they ascertained that the wispy things were souls. Everen determined that there was somewhere between ten and twenty five of them somehow protecting the Calimar. Every time it was hit, one would detach.

Everan then concentrated his attention towards the house, and, after a while, was able to determine that, inside the house was a heart, the heart of a fae, presumably originally belonging to Isreana. Hopefully we would be able to reunite her body with her heart. Everytime it beat, lifeforce was sucked down the threads, then into the plane.

The house also had the same aura as the rest of the plane. While Cher kept the Calimar occupied, Victoria had a look down the side of the building but didn't see any windows. So she tried the door, and got shocked by the door handle. Her battleaxe was then applied to the door, swiftly bringing it down. Inside, we could see the beating heart, suspended in mid air and surrounded by a pentacle.

Menolly and Victoria headed inside while I moved away from Cher, as between Haann and myself, she was healed up again, and also headed for the door. By the time I got there, I noticed Victoria's hands were glowing with some sort of life energy - a gift from the Life Shaman. I must not have noticed her getting that. Menolly had DAed the pentagram, and determined it was not magical. So Victoria stepped in and grabbed the heart, disconnecting it from all the threads. As she did that, the ground began to shake as the plane began to self-destruct.

We had to flee up the hill to where the portal was, but the ever increasing quakes were making it even more difficult to stay on our feet. Menolly was able to grab Victoria's dropped rapier but, before long all we were aware of was the shaking of the ground and the associated noise. Trying to cast Wings on people just wasn't going to happen.

The plane collapsed .... and we found ourselves flung out and splashed into the blood filled area back in the cavern of Alusia. Then there was a shattering sound as the Kyranite crystal above us shattered, sending shards flying into us before the pieces of crystal destabilized and turned to dust. Victoria made a mad scramble for the heart. It had taken damage but was healing. Victoria's rapier was also lying in the blood and, so was the dead body of the Calimar. We discovered the remaining bound souls were in a cloak it was wearing.

Session Twelve

The physical enhancements we had got were about to run out so we healed each other up. We had no idea what to do with the heart that Victoria was still holding, but the quickest and easiest thing to do was to head to the dwarven caverns and consult with Chaaf. We then made a way to prevent Victoria accidently dropping the Heart before flying off.

Day 21?

The rising sun had just peeked over the horizon by the time we landed by the dwarven caverns. Once we were down and safe, Victoria passed off the Heart to Menolly. We found Chaaf, in elf form, in his lair. Unfortunately, he can't reunite the Heart with Isherael but he could use it to transfer Isherael's memories and abilities to the new termite shaman. He could also pass them on to another Master Healer, namely Morgan or myself. I had to admit, it was a rather tempting offer. Chaaf was able to provide a way for me to consult with Diancecht, and it turned out he wasn't too happy with me as I had been bending my pact, especially the bit about non-association with other Powers to virtual breaking point. Well .. I said I was going to take my lumps for this and I did. I could renounce the pact, or do three major acts of healing in order to atone and get my abilities back. I opted for the latter. That left Morgan as the recipitant of Isreana's abilities.

I was feeling rather glum, and completely chastised, when I rejoined the others and was brooding for a while. The cloak of souls was also handed to Chaaf so that the souls could be released. Everan wanted to tell Chaaf the entire story but Chaaf suggested that we should tell his brother as it was more likely that we could use it as a bargaining chip for further information. So, that's what we ended up doing.

So Videl was told the entire story. In return, he offered to answer any one question we had, truthfully, and to the best of his knowledge. There were lots of things I could ask but I figured I was in enough trouble already so I let Everan use mine. Basically we found out that this Calimar had been working alone and had created the plane to use it as a stepping stone in order to attack something that dealt in the void between planes. The ships had been lifted and transported by a void cruiser. The dreams attacking Romache were still going on but they were being dealt with. The missing skins may be required by the metamorphs or Lord Arrondale for reasons unknown. Basically all our loose ends were of no consequence or were taken care of. He did say that another Guild party would be required in five months to help deal with an incursion. Somehow, I do not think I will be returning, unless Diancecht sends me here.

   Haann - Where did you get your cool clothes?
   Videl - Our primary ability is illusion.

Next stop was Setegen, which was still under lockdown - much to Morgan's delight. We reported what we had done to the Governor then got to work healing up the plague victims. The full moon came and went without any dire consequences so we got to work eradicating the plague. It turned out to be my first act of redemption. I just have to figure out the other two. Haann also organised a grand party to raise the town's morale.

Grisleg was given the other crystal and was infused with Isreana's memories and skills and ... well .. that was basically it. Back through the dwarven tunnels, through the portal, and a quick flight back to Seagate, getting back late afternoon on the 30th day.

Menollys Notes

Available in a single page.

Menolly's Diary Part 8 - Skin Trade

Entry one

  • Day 1 and 2 of Fruit 808

I think this is the first time I've arrived at a Guilding Meeting with an idea of where I'm going for the next few months. Wow. Such an interesting concept of being able to look ahead and plan. I had heard that the Isles were having some problems with that nasty plague thing and as I had already been thinking of going back to help the city we had freed, this seemed like the obvious choice to make.

Meeting up in the guild office room to meet our employer, I brought along my babies in case I could bring them along. But sadly just Belle is with me this time. The dogs are just too big for me to carry and I haven't quite got the knack of showing them how to fly yet. Maybe next time. They are staying over at the Strecker's Farm to do some more dog training with that nice Master Bowgone WormRider. I miss them already.

Anyway, there were a bunch of others there. I hadn't meet any of them which is very exciting. We have 3 ladies on the party, and 4 gentlemen. The ladies are Victoria (who is a warrior with lots of weapons), Morgan (who is an ork but has been disguised as a human by the portal thingy. She is a healer but fights a lot too), me. And the gentlemen are Phaeton (another healer and sun mage), Haann (who is a satyr but didn't start this way, very odd. He's a mind mage too. And the guild guards told us to make sure he keeps his pants on... very curious), Cher (who is a Suarime which I've never seen before. He's a binder and a nice one. He also has this wee lizard friend traveling with him called Hutch who is a scribber. He has this wee cute slate and writer and Cher says whatever he writes goes to the Dragon on Oz. How interesting, haven't seen many lizard people apart from Sooty's salamanders) and Everan. (notes added into the margin) Everan, human, male, with the reddest hair I've ever seen. Been on the Isles for ages helping out.

These people have been out on Guild jobs a lot as they were very quick to share info and organise who would do what and what skills people can do. I feel a bit under skilled compared with some of these people. I hope I can keep up.

Our guide and job hirer is supposed to be Everan, but he had been delayed so sent a chap called Civerous to guide us to our first meeting with Everan. Basically there is another plague, very similar to the last one that was caused by those nasty items, in a city called Setagen. And before they realised it was a plague and quarantined the city 3 ships left with cargo for other cities. They closed down the city, and sent 3 other ships after the first ships. But now all 6 are missing. Our job is to find out about the plague and stop it, and find the missing ships. (note added in margin) 2 ships originally went to ports in the Western Kingdoms, 1 ship to Kinlu. (then Western is crossed out and Eastern added.

The plague is similar to the other one in that the symptoms are the same, and the slow but steady deterioration of the victims. Some have died, not many but it's on the increase. What's different this time is that the curse keeps getting renewed, even after it's been removed and had the damage healed. It seems each month, on the full moon, a wave of this plague/curse flows from the north to cover the city area. And people who might have previously been healed can become recursed. But it only seems to be infecting any who were in the city when the first plague/curse arrived. All the healers who have travelled to help the city haven't succumbed to it, like how some did last time. A local namer has been able to work out that the source is to the north, but as the city is to the south of the isle, everything is pretty much north. The next full moon is in 18 days or so. This wave of infections has been going on for 3 months now, and every wave infects slightly more and more people. The healers are beginning to feel the pinch a bit. (note added into margin) Date started: Beltane. First Wave: 28th Meadow. Second wave: 26th Heat. Third wave: 24th Breeze. Next wave: 21st Fruit. (extra note added further down margin) Seems my understanding of Folksprach wasn't so good. The Full moon was actually the New Moon.

Seems rather dire really. I hope we can live up to finding what's going on here. Anyway Civerous also had our payment for the mission already. He handed us these odd ceramic jar things which were in two pieces and told us that these items go around your heart to help aid in resurrection. A bit dire but maybe these will be needed before the job is done. I so hope not, as if that's the case Belle could be very much in danger.

Rightio, once we got all the low down from Civerous, we spent some time preparing gear to meet that evening. I dropped off my babies and told them to behave. Bought a few essentials and I organised some protection for Belle as I'm worried about those nasty people who interfered with our investigations last time and all those nasty area spells they threw at us. She's only little. Packed for the stinky hot jungles again and meet up with the others. Civerous had organised bat wings for us to fly to the portal. We had 2 young looking novices cast them and they did very well. Off we went and we mostly landed ok. I yet again hit one of the pine trees branches on the way down and had a rough landing. Luckily Belle wasn't hurt but my injuries stung a bit. That is until that nice healing orc Asath chap from the portal used one of those weird metal spikes again. At least I was prepared this time, the others didn't believe me much when they saw me being carted off by him. But all fixed now. Must practise that landing some more if I get time.

Through the tunnels to the ork village, and then onto the portal. Morgan seemed rather take with Asath. The portal entrance had been changed a bit, and Asath mentioned that it had some added features since last time. And when we popped through Morgan became more human in appearance, which caused her some discomfort. But better than then being killed by angry villagers I reckon. Would have been very useful on the last trip, Kilgoth wouldn't have had to had that thing cast on him by the dragon. Back to the endless tunnels of the dwarves, and Civerous was our guide this time. Still can't work out some of the turns and twists. We went to also see Chaaff which was cool. I had collected some nice seashells for him when I was walking around under the water on the last job. Found some interesting ones which I presented to him, so I hope he liked them. Chaaff was very interested in Haan, something to do with how Haan is organised (being pacted to that chap I wont name) and so had a chat to him in the back room. Hope it wasn't painful for Haan.

We did have an interesting chat to Chaaff about fae and elves though. It seems Victoria was here previously too, and helped rescue a dead elfs spirit. And that the spirit had a sister who was the last elf in the Isles, but she is now missing/dead too. The resuced one is all better now, and somewhere else. The now missing one was the termite shaman, which means something big happened... (maybe related to the curse?) And it was mentioned there are no fae and no elves on the Isles, apart from us who visit. Seems like someone or something has been purposely getting rid of them, but to what end I don't know. Makes me feel a bit conspicuous.

After chatting to him, through the tunnels and rune sticks and more tunnels and more rune sticks and we ended up at the underground dwarven city. We were given food and drink and lodgings and told they would transport us to south of Batibati where we would need to go to meet up with Everan. We worked out a basic map of the area with them, which I will try to add to as we travel, and decided since we had been awake and traveling for quite some time that we would sleep/rest and try to reset our body clocks with the times here.

Entry Two

  • Day 3 of Fruit 808

More tunnels before our guide led us out into the jungle. Yup, hot and sweltering, didn't miss it. Belle likes it better than the cold tunnels and I don't blame her. We head through into some rice paddies, obviously we are close to people. We come to a path and head along that for a bit until we get near a swamp. Civerous leads us to a secluded covered area overlooking the swamp and you could see guard towers every mile or so. This area is controversial atm and it seems they really don't want anything to come out of the swamp. Fair enough. We have to go into the swamp as that is where we have a meeting to attend. So we decide stealth is better and Phaeton and I Unseen the party and head into the swamp. Belle had to follow on foot be herself, which was a bit scary, but once we got passed the guards they weren't too worried about the water tracks heading into the swamp so she climbed back on then. Must work out if I can find a spell or skill that lets me carry her while we are both unseen, that doesn't trigger off since we are touching each other. Must be a way...

Into the swamp and we were seeing huge termite mounds everywhere. We eventually came to this island area out of the swamp which was fenced off by hedges of trees and bushes and were meet by Everan, and a small dwarvish boy. Here Everan told us all the information he had gathered about the curse and disease.

The dwarf Gruselig was also introduced to us as the new termite shaman, which means the missing one is definitely dead, I hope her spirit or death isn't mixed up with this curse thing. She went missing before the curse started, so maybe she was nabbed for some evil ritual thing from that nasty blood college that I have problems pronouncing and even spelling...

We discussed many things including plans for how we should attempt working out how this plague is working etc. The plague, the city, the college, the cities trading businesses and a number of factors that could make enemies were discussed at length. Trying to get our heads around how and why all this nasty plague is happening. We discuss possible plans, whether we go after the ships, or after the source first. Much discussion. We even discussed that big nasty Spider demon/shaman thing from the last time I was here. It seems Victoria had a run in with part of it on her first adventure here, which makes things way more complicated. It's like there is this huge big plan, but we are only seeing small snippets of it.

Haan reads us the poem from the dragon as well. It was on some very old parchment, but Chaaff didn't say whether it's to do with this problem or something else. I'll try and copy it when I get a chance so I can think about it some more.

All through our discussions the dwarf shaman was doing something weird, I've never actually seen feelers on a humanoid before. He had these insect like feelers come out of his head and he kept using them on people when their backs were turned. Freaked out Morgan a bit. Was most curious.

We came to the realisation that we need to get more information and the best place would be the city. So we head off through the swamp in that direction, on the back of this huge termite leant to us by the dwarf. Phaeton then casts lots of big glowing wings on us so we can fly south but in the middle of casting them he did something odd and ended up drinking the swamp. Maybe one of the spells went wonky but it did make us look at the swamp area a bit more closely. And it seems there are parts of the swamp which are slightly more magical than others. The water in this spot has magical qualities, not as strong as a waters of healing or anything, but it does help. I imagine the mud used as a compress would help healing wounds too. Most intriguing. I must pay closer attention to the land around us.

Anyway, off we flew towards the city. We decided landing far enough away from the city so we can remove them was in order as the inhabitants of these isles don't like magic very much, at least all the showing obvious stuff. A bit like the Paradise folks, all very covert and "just lucky" sort of thing. I landed a lot better this time, not falling into the waters of the coastal bit we used as a landing strip. The coast is also not very forgiving, not surprising since we are in volcanic area and the beach is all volcanic glasses and rocks. Not that comfy a landing.

We heading towards the city but ended up varing off towards the quarantine camp outside instead. We wandered in (not much security) and meet up with some of the people in charge. They assigned us somewhere to stay the night, with the plan of looking at the victims in the morning to get a better understanding of the plague. The hammock beds are comfy enough.

Entry Three

  • Day 4 of Fruit 808

After breakfast we went to have a look at the victims of the plague. Phaeton and Morgan were mainly interested in what it looks and feels like, and there were many people rather badly affected by this nasty thing. We got to talk to the healers and we found out that apart from people getting reinfected, those people who have been cured already seem to come down with the plague worse the second time round. Like they can't fight it was well as before, and there were some rather nasty cases. Phaeton and Morgan offered to help, but the healers advised about complete cures, understandable. It's like the plague uses up the bodies ability to fight, and so second infections take over so much easier.

While they were helping where they could, I had a look around, looking at things auras. It seems the animals and plants don't seem to carry the taint, but you can very faintly catch it on the people infected, but it is so very small and fine a thing that you miss spotting it most of the time. While looking around I also found traces of the spell, impacting on things, which is very odd. It gives the feel like something splashed onto an object, with the top most surfaces with the impact on it, but the undersides without it. I grabbed a few samples, maybe I can get someone to look closer at this effect.

We said our goodbyes and headed into the city. Security on the gates was a bit better, but since Everan has been here before, it wasn't too hard getting into the city. We went in search of the ship namer that Everan had been talking to, and found her on her ship in port. We ended up sharing information on what small things we had discovered, and she told us about what she'd found out over the time. She is the one who has been working on a triangulation of where the source is coming from, to the north. She also described how on one of the previous full moons she was divinating the plague and ended up seeing a silvery web of threads, starting at people in the city and leading away towards the north. She checked it again the following full moon and also noticed that during that small instant of midnight during the full moon, the threads are a lot stronger, so she could see them. The rest of the time they are so faint they are undetectable. And how the threads pulsated with the person's heart beat, and the pulsating ran along the thread towards the north.

This does mean that the wave of the curse that impacts each month is charging something, and yes, something from the person is being drawn away and reduced. Obviously it's what helps the body fight the infection. But what is it that's being drawn away? And to what purpose? If this is something from that nasty blood magic thing, they could be using the stuff to power something even nastier. The namer also mentioned that she saw a bright flash or spot in the city, so maybe we can find where the spell impacts. Maybe there is a focus that they are using to target the spell. Tomorrow we will go explore the city, looking for impacts and try to triangulate the spot. Then she can try divining spots. We find a nice inn, who loves our business, and set up base.

Entry Four

  • Day 5 of Fruit 808

We spend the day looking at the aura's of objects, static ones, around the city. Even though we are there on a "job" we still have to be careful. After a good part of the day is finished, we work out using the way the marks impact, that the centre of the triangulation of the impacts is a 4 to 8 block radius in the city, around the bath house and the temple to the Bali.

After making a list of possible sites we could get divinated by whats-her-name at a later time, we explore the impact zone a bit more.

Looking closer at the area, Phaeton says he notices a white light above the roof of the temple. A white shining light except it has this nasty black looking spiraling taint thread to it. It's about 25ft up above the roof. It seems Everan remembers seeing something like this elsewhere, something about a temple spirit.

Meanwhile I had carefully wandered around the bath house, checking for impacts. I even found a way onto the top and confirmed there was impact signs, as if the impact was directly above the house. When I came to see the others they told me about the shrine light and possible spirit. And then Everan tries to interact with the shrine spirit and as he touches the spirit, he gets thrust away from the shrine by about 5 feet, and falls unconscious. Then silly Haan, forgets that people around here don't like magic or signs of it, does this weird thing and tries to see what's up with Everan, and gets blasted 40 ft into the air and dropped like a stone, also unconscious. By this time the locals are scurrying away from us yelling things like "witch", and looking like they want to lynch us.

We grab the downed people and move back into the city, hiding among the buildings, and trying to bring the 2 unconscious back to the land of the walking. Everan comes round not too long afterwards, just seemed exhausted. But Haan comes out of it eventually with a splitting headache. I offer to help him but it seems nothing we can do, magical or healable, will get rid of the headache. He will just have to live with it for a while longer. Most intriguing.

We hole up in the docks area while we wait out the locals. Everan described what he felt when he touched the temple spirit. It was like a maelstrom of madness and pain, many voices screaming in pain. It was probably the overload of these senses that made him black out. When Haan tried to connect with Everan to make him move, he also hit this, which is why he also was affected. Both have also mentioned they still have ringing in the ears, but instead of it being a buzzing or just a random noise, they can hear screaming.

We eventually head back to the empty Inn which we have taken over as our base. We spent some time discussing what's been happening. Many topics appeared over the evening including the Calimar, the plague, Dragons, metamorphs and the poem Haan got.

From what they were saying the Metamorphs were originally on these isles, and someone (Fae?) turned up and kicked them out. The metamorphs being long living are still around. However Fae have been slowly dying off and now there are very few left in the Isles. There was talk about the expedition Victoria when on, retrieving the spirit of one of the fae. Maybe this is all about some big fight between the metamorphs and the fae... but maybe the metamorphs are just a different sort of fae. Interesting thought.

Aloise stayed for the discussion, adding what insights she had about the local area. We arranged to meet her the following day, to talk to the Kinsin at the temple about what Everan found

Entry Five

  • Day 6 of Fruit 808

We rose with the dawn today and headed to the bath-house to meet with Aloise. The bath-house is rather nice, with hot pools through to cold pools. They come from a hot spring that bubbles from below the ground. Possibly to do with the local volcanoes.

Aloise had talked to the Kinsin already, and they have consented to meet with us, and given her permission to look at the temple. They are concerned about the tainted temple spirit, and they have sent a runner to the Bali about it.

Morgan and Phaeton stay with Aloise while we head out of town to go visit the bone yard of the plague victims. Everan wanted to talk to them about whether they could sense the taint in the temple spirit. The rest of us travel with him. It's not far from the city walls, and outside of the impact zone.

The locals put their dead on top of a wooden platform, and eventually the natural elements remove the dead tissue and the bones are collected and places into a special building. So to get closer to the bodies, Everan had to climb up onto the wooden platform to ask questions. He asked a bunch of questions and shared with us the answers he got. Apparently spirits here can communicate with each other. In fact they have a collective grouping, and other areas also have collective groupings. And they can communicate with other groupings, but it's harder to do. They can't see the lines coming out of the living, all the spirits are apparently well, they have no feeling of being pulled towards something else.

Although this is interesting we realised if they were corrupted, they might not know the difference. So we need to also talk to some older spirits. So we headed off to the older bone yard. Everan asked similar questions there and got some similar answers. Then he did some sitting down ritual thing and came away with special answers to special questions he got to ask.

Question one was asking if they had awareness of attack/corruption of the collective.
Answer: Always the soul is part of a greater thing both in Life and Death.
Question two was about any concept of source/direction or where it is coming from. Meaning the plague and curse.
Answer: All corruption comes from within though with external influence.
Question three was about any concept of who or what is the cause of the plague and curse.
Answer: That which makes us greater than ourselves.
Question four was about timeframe of the attack/issue. Does it coincide with Beltane?
Answer: Many months has the rotten core of blood influences the power of many.
Question five was how can we help them?
Answer: Demons have no place upon the isles and the greater fae must remain bound.
Question six was how can they help us?
Answer: We are always here you must just ask the correct questions.

All very cryptic, so while we are thinking about the answers we head back into town to meet up with the others to see what they have found out. The divination of the crystals in the Bali statue (3, 1 in each head) showed Aloise 2 things. One was that the crystals are part of a ritual for storing of souls, powering some sort of spell (binding?) and the bad thing being that there is also a malign ritual now attacking the original binding spell. It was described as the first spell is a lattice and the second one is attempting to create a break in part of the lattice.

She picked the crystals instead of the temple and spirit as one of the things she was told when she arrived was that the Kinsin have noticed the crystals are not the original ones, they have been switched.

After more questioning it was worked out that the crystals have probably been changed in the last year or two years, but no-one remembers anything odd. Plus the Kinsin get swapped around a lot. The first soul to impact on the "storing" part of the ritual was 18 months ago, so the crystal has been active since that far back. Just not sure if it's been here that long.

The old crystals being diamond-y in shape, the new ones being like a kite in shape. (a couple of sketches of crystal shapes)

Much discussion and theorizing happens. We all get horribly confused, well at least I did, so we went for lunch and a drink instead. Questions like who are they greater fae? Which demons are meddling, who bound the fae, why where they bound? Souls traveling through the crystals to do what?

Aloise mentioned that while doing the divinate she could see the thread again. Maybe with more souls powering it, it makes it more visible. We come to 1 theory that since the souls travel through the crystal, it makes it an entity of a sort. And the curse was just targeted at the temple, being the centre of the city and a good targeting spot. The curse has somehow affected the crystal, since it's designed to impact on entities from this location, and that could be what is causing the corruption.

Phaeton, Aloise and others then spend some time triangulating the north location and work out the power thread will run through, so we can work out where we next need to visit. One of the places we put on the list is Vidall's bone yard. It then works out that the power thread actually runs through Vidalls so he's definitely on the visiting list. We also plan to visit some of the loca temples to see if their crystals have been changed or had stuff impact on it. And also visiting the Bali in their big temple is on the list.

Everan decides he needs more answers so we head back to talk to the spirits. He asks more questions, and get more cryptic answers.

Question One Who bound the greater fae and when?
Such questions are beyond the ken of Mortal Spirits.
Question Two Do you form part of the binding?
I am part of a greater binding, of fae I cannot confirm but I am a minor player in the great work.
Question Three What will happen if the binding is broken?
That which is bound will return to the mortal realms and the play will be over and the stage destroyed.
Question Four Are what we know as Metomorphs part of the Fae?
Beings of an age they are but cousins at best.
Question Five Are other collectives being 'maligned'?
A great work is planned but the stage is yet to be set.
Question Six Which ones(collectives)?
Many are the towns and villages that will be involved before the curtain falls.

We then fly north-ish and stop into a couple of villages and check their temples and crystals. Nothing. We do get to see what the original crystals are supposed to look like. We then carry on north and head for Vidall's.

There is much discussing things on the fly, including me mentioning how Vidall exchanged some blood with people on my party and they got weird abilities. Cher and Haan find this Blood Magic things very odd, and made me think some more too. I wonder if it's got anything to do with that weird blood magic, or just a coincidence.

We arrive at night and spend the night at Sir Kits house.

Entry Six

  • Day 7 of Fruit 808

We went to visit Vidall in the morning. He looked just like a hatch but bigger when we arrived, which was very curious. But quickly changed forms again and we greeted him and mentioned we had some information he might be interested in.

We spent some time going over what we had learnt so far, some of our theories and some of the questions we are looking to answer.

He tells us we don't have the whole picture and that there has been another attack happening at the same time. Dream attacks. He knows of these attacks against his brother, Romash who lives in the volcano in Setagen. He's the red dragon. Vidall mentions that one of the people on the isles who could do this are the Children of the Rift (those horrible nasty undead who use children's corpses to attack people, the ones from the spider cave)

Also the orcs have moved south, heading into Devils Claw, which is an area not far from Setagen. Maybe they are setting up a staging area to attack Setagen. What better way to weaken the forces of a city, plague it, attack their religious protections, attack the local dragon who might also intervene and bring in nasty big forces that are rather brutal.

The big question then is who is organising all these as they don't work together usually. And saying that they all might be coincidences, yeah like that's it. I think there is a bigger nasty getting these others to do certain jobs, they just don't get to see the bigger picture. Except we are now finding these pieces to a big puzzle and they don't make a pretty picture at the moment.

So, we have some options of where we can go to ask more questions. We could go and try talking to the orcs, maybe we can reverse the effects on Morgan and she can sweet talk them. However there was the comment we might have to rescue her from herself if she gets sidetracked. We could talk to Lord Erendale (who is apparently the Shaman of Death on the isles, go figures) or the Shaman of Life, who might have noticed things about the spirit trails. She lives by the Blue Lake, however she has this aging effect on people when they get close. Not so bad for me, and some of the other longer living, but for the humans and Bella, this is a problem. Vidall offers an exchange to blood with Phaeton, Everan and Morgan to protect them from aging. Everan and Morgan have no problems but Phaeton ended up screaming and collapsing on the floor.

While fixing Phaeton, or at least helping him become conscious again I asked Haan and Everan if the ringing/screaming in their ears had stopped. They said it had but Vidall was interested. We relayed what had happened and the effect and he perks up looking interested and decides he is heading to Setagen. He offers us a lift, but since we will be going in the other direction we decline. We mention Aloise to him, as he may want to discuss her divinations of the temple. He then changes into this beautiful green dragon and flew off. Wow, I've seen his dragon form now. Very cool. Before he left he lent us a little tiny boat about the size of an earring or charm. If you get it wet, it enlarges to the size of a boat. When you pull it out of the water and let it dry, it shrinks back to earring size. Neat!

Anyway, Everan decides that since we are here we might as well see if the spirits in the boneyard know anything different to the other spirits we have been talking to. He asks mostly the same sort of questions he asked at the last place. He got mostly the same sort of answers back. Asked if they knew of any corruption in the spirit realm - Corruption is everywhere. Has anyone attacked them, no. Only one gave something interesting. He asked how much of the spirits was fae spirits. Answer: Part fae are we that recide within the halls of knowledge. Fae is both a state of mind and a state of soul and we are neither.

So after that we head to the two temples near the Lakes of Remorse to check their crystals. Yes there are some, they are like the other village temples we have been to. We check for corruption, didn't find any. We then travel back to the dwarven pagoda portal, to travel back to the dwarves. They are our fastest way of getting to both the Bali temple and the Blue Lake.

We arrive in the dwarven caverns and find their current council members. We explain all we have found out so far, as it may impact on them. We discuss with them the insect shamans. It seems the cockroach shaman I meet last time hasn't been seen for a while, and there was a break up between 2 of the shamans. Maybe he is just staying away, or he could be missing. We plan to see if we can track him down. I might need to go cockroach hunting.

We get invited to a special celebration, and anniversary of the formation of the dwarven council. It's a very lavish meal. We talked to the dwarves and they told us a bit of the history of the event. It's to do with how they came to this place to mine the gold, some of them found the crystal chamber and made camp near it. It seems this broke the dwarves into 2 groups, these and those near the crystals. Over a hundred years of so those near the crystals had become tainted, or damaged by the crystals, and discovered by Mr nasty pants and partially enslaved/made to work for him. The dwarves over here found out and set about rescuing them, they got some guild help for this too.. That's the mission Victoria was on, I don't know much about it, I'll have to read the scribe notes when I get back to Guild. Anyway, the locals are now helping rehabilitate the tainted dwarves, which is ever so nice.

We get lead through a bunch more tunnels and portals and we end up popping out in the jungle spot by the beginning of the brook like last time. We walk through the jungle for a bit, following the brook until it gets bigger. Then we pop the boat into the river and float down towards the Bali temple.

While we are floating Phaeton sat down and then just disappeared, poof... We pulled over to the bank to try and work out what had happened and then poof, he was back. Much yelling, questioning etc and we work out he was meditating and praying to his goddess, but ended up popping into a room where Chaff (in human form) had a wee chat reminding that his goddess didn't really have power here so praying will get an engaged message, or popping in to see him. If I'd thought of it, that's exactly what Sir Kit did when we were here. Makes for an interesting way of getting in touch with the dragons in a hurray if something happens. Well, if it works I guess. Everyone has been praying to their gods but not to the dragons themselves.

We arrived at the harbor as dusk was setting.

Entry Seven

  • Day 8 of Fruit 808

The boat is really cool. We pulled it out of the water last night and then this morning it took us ages to find it cause it was so small. We think we should tie something to it so it's easier to find it next time.

We headed up the hill of stairs to the Bali temple. The guards are still as spooky as before, standing still along the top of the walls, with their huge bows at the ready. We are meet at the gate and asked our business. We ask to speak to the Bali Kensin and get shown through to an area to wait. We get to see all the warriors practising their unarmed movements and some of the group practise with them. It's very quiet and serious, and they seem to be more than human in their abilities. We eventually get lead off to meet with one of the advisors.

Greetings happen and we get down to business. We bring up the crystals in the statue in Setagen and how we are concerned about its state. He reacts to our comments and firmly denies that there are crystals in the statues. This is rather odd, and he takes us to the large statue in the main temple and gets one of his acolytes to jump up to the top of the 20ft statue to check. And there isn't one.

Dumbing up, we get shown to an area we can rest in, and we discuss this new development. We use the crystal balls to check the top of the statue to confirm their findings. There isn't one, as there is no bracket in the top of the statue like the ones in the smaller temples. But looking through the crystals someone spots the white light spirit line. It comes from a concealed area in the woodwork of one of the close by door frame arches in the temple.

We talk some more about what we are going to do now, and we decide to hang around some more until we get to see the Bali Kensin. We each have a wander around, looking and doing different things. Victoria did some martial training, Phaeton sketched places around the area, Everan got permission to look at books and scrolls in the small library, others just relaxed. I went back into the temple to look at the story panels, and to quietly DA the crystal in the archway. Phaeton also had a look and we worked out it's magical, has soul storage and amplification on it, and it's alignment is good.

I then spent some time relaxing under a tree with Belle, feeding her yummy fruit. In talking to Everan afterwards, one of the books in the library was a copy of "The Book" that the prophet wrote, and it includes a story about creation. It talks about animals walking like people, and a mist, and how there was a big fight, and eventually the land was left for the true believers. Some of it made the story panels make more sense, but I'd like to know more about the sides who were doing the fighting.

The warriors were training in the open areas of the temple again. More of the yelling philosophy at your partner that I remember seeing last time, not that I can understand what they are saying very well. Plus there were some practising unarmed training, following through movements and kicks and things like I've seen Victoria do in the mornings, some sort of practise thing. Plus there were some practising archery with those huge bows. They can shoot a rather long distance.

Eventually we are gathered together for an audience with the Bali Kinsin. He is the same person as I last meet. We had decided beforehand we would just discuss some of what we know, not the crystals or dragons or fae. Just things like the plague, and the orcs and see where we go from there. So we sit around and Everan fills in the Bali Kinsin about how the Orcs that disappeared after the war have been seen nearby Setagen, and how we are concerned they are there to attack the city. We work out that if there were about 30 warriors left over from the war, which was 4 years ago, that there could be 100 now, plus all the extra camp followers. That is quite a few. He is very interested in this issue and says he will investigate.

We also discuss how we are on the trail of the plague and ask for assistance. He offers us a seal for showing at temples if we are in need, so the temples can help.

Phaeton and I look into the Bali Kinsin and his guards auras and discover he has some sort of magic in effect, some sort of physical enhancement, but we can't seem to get any information on a college or cause. Maybe it's a quasi magical effect, I wonder if living in close proximity to the crystal in the temple, and praying in the temple on such a regular occurrence as they do, if it has any effect on them like it effected the dwarfs. I know the dwarfs were in contact with untuned crystal, and the temple crystal is tuned. I wonder if there is more in this temple in places we haven't seen.

We are then invited to the evening meal, which is a light meal of rice, stir fry type meat and vegetables and these flat bread things. You put the rice and things in the bread and roll it up like a tube, and then eat it all together. Saves on the dishes, and are rather tasty. It seems the acolytes have a game of trying to steal tidbits out of others rolls as they are rolling them up. Which is all very fast and accurate. Most intriguing.

We were lead back to our resting room and plan to stay the night.

Entry Eight

  • Day 9 of Fruit 808

Our sleep is rather disturbed as it seems the temple prays every two hours, and so rings a bell to bring everyone together throughout the night. However I woke feeling refreshed like I'd had an excellent sleep, which is very odd given all the bells and waking. I check myself out to make sure I'm not under any influence and start checking the others but they laugh at me so I stop. Just seems all wrong. Maybe there is more to this place than meets the eye.

We work out we need to head off the river way, so after saying our farewells we head through the temple fields towards the jungle. There are many game trails heading into the jungle and Morgan takes the lead. We continue in a way looking for a suitable site to cast flying from.

I finally asked Cher to cast the stone spell on Bella, I am really worried about the effects of the Life Shaman (Garserril is her name) on her. Briar coped ok when we passed through the area that aged him, but it was only a minor area, adding 6 months on him. Aparantly the Life Shaman's effects are much more faster aging. Everan yells at me, as he thought we had already done it. Not sure how he worked that out, since Bella has been travelling on me in plain sight since we arrived here. I guess I was being a wee bit selfish and not wanting to do it too soon. I like Bella's company and I want her to experience as much of the jungle life as she can while we are here. It is where she is from, and if we is to make an informed decision of where she wanted to live when she's grown up, I want her to have some idea of this place. Luckily we have some time while we prepare, and Cher's ritual is successful. I now have a Bella statue in my backpack. I hope I don't crash land from flying. I cast a number of spells on people, and then we were off flying.

From above the jungle canopy we could make out the lakes in a distance, so we headed off in that direction. The closer we got, the more details we could see of the lakes. And one piece of scenery we didn't quite know about, which was a huge waterfall. It seems to go almost 350ft up into the air, but the water flows the wrong way. It flows up... very odd. The area we are traveling through is full of ravines, and cliffs, and a plateau. It takes some time to find a suitable flat area to land, and we see more wonders, like the blue lake, which has a river flowing into it, from downstream. The water goes the wrong way here too.

The best place to land was near the river. There were some spectacular landings, perfect examples of how to do it right, and then there were some of how not to do it. I was one of those, but luckily I didn't land badly enough to damage anything I was wearing or carrying. Rolling to protect a statue is rather tricky. I must practise some more flying when I get back to the guild.

We pop the earring boat, and travel around a bit. We head up the river to the lake, and travel around the edge looking for where the Life Shaman might be. We find a village as we travel around, and pull in to see if they know of where we seek. The village come out to meet us, and a representative comes forward and places a bunch of bananas on the ground in front of us. Everan picks them up, and then their representatives get a bit agitated and argue amongst themselves. We eventually get invited into the village and they begin bringing out food. Obviously a custom of greeting people. The others bring out drink, and they change and seem much happier now. It seems we should have given them some food too, when they gave us the bananas. But everyone seems happy, there was a feast with some dancing and music.

Everan spends some time during the feast talking to the head village person to find out if they know where Gazaroll lives. They don't recognise the name, but when asked about a shaman, we get introduced to a strange chap with tattoos on his face, and a feather through the nose. We ask about strange areas on the lake, he mention a couple of places you shouldn't visit. The waterfall is one, and another is an area where the water boils. Phaeton's aura reading showed he was from some sort of runic college, but not what we are looking for. Our translator seems to be the only one who leaves the village, with his smattering of Folksprach, as he takes herbs down the river to sell for the village.

We decide to stay with the village for tonight. Hatch seems to interest the children, and he has a small following as he draws the village onto his tablet. People seem curious of Hann, and Morgan did some healing which has awed her in the villages eyes. I like the peaceful quiet of the village, they seem like nice folks. I already miss Bella, but it's probably safer this way.

Entry Nine

  • Day 10 of Fruit 808

As we left the village this morning, the villagers gave us gifts of food and herbs. If I get time I'd like to learn more about herbs, as I've seen wonders happen when people skilled in their uses get a chance to work with them. Something to think about when I have time to spare at the guild. We were waved off, and quickly we headed in the direction of where they told us not to go, the boiling water. And in fact the water does boil. The temperature rose quickly, with no cold water life to be seen for ages. We decided not to risk the magical boat too far, and pulled in to pull boat out of the water. A caterpillar had been brought along for the trip, and as soon as it started changing into a cocoon very quickly we knew we were heading in the right area. Victoria hadn't been protected against aging, and we used her as a sort of gauge. It started being just a few hours in a minute, but the closer we got the centre point, it increased to days in a minute. Eventually we found a cave, as we entered the cave the aging increased to a month a minute. We moved around the corner of the cave into an open cavern and the aging increased more.

Victoria stayed briefly, enough to greet the lady who was also Erelheine, before heading outside away from the cave to stop her aging so fast. The rest greet and talk to the lady. The cavern we are in is circular and she stands in the centre in a flowing white dress. We talk to her about our travels and what we know and discuss the plague. She says the plague hurts her, and indicated a blood stain on her dress edge. It seems whatever is happening to the isles, also happens to her. She knows about the death of the other lady Shaman, and reveals the heart area of her dress which shows death, blood and a great weeping sore. If it was a clean death, it shouldn't show that, so there is much more here. We ask if she can tell the direction and nature of the death that caused this. She indicated it would take a day to meditate on this, so we say we will camp nearby and come back the following day.

We left and headed as far away as we could, to help reduce the aging on Victoria. It seems in just that short a span of walking in and out again, Victoria has aged a couple of years. We set up camp and waited out the night. During the watches in the evening, Victoria and Everan see an ancient lady leave the cave, and walk into the boiling water. And after a time, an infant crawls out of the water and heads back into the cave. It seems she relives a lifetime in just one day.

  • Day 11 of Fruit 808

We headed back after a quick breakfast to see if she had any further information for us. Victoria came in briefly and gave her a gift, before heading back out again. From what she has found out, the ritual to kill the other shaman involved great pain, powered in some way by demonic forces, and demonic at the source. It involves sacrificing people to power the ritual, and it seems to come from Northwest of here. It's all the information she could find out. She also gives us a gift to help us, a ball of light hits us and enters us. She says it's a ball of life to help with vitality, and we will know how to use it when we need it. Very cryptic, but I guess if you live a lifetime each day you can be a bit cryptic.

We head off from the Life Shaman and discuss what our options are now. We could head back to investigate the orcs, or follow the lines of plague power stuff to try and triangulate where it comes from.

It is decided to head back to Setagen and see if there is any new information from Eloise and Vidall's visit. And then head off to investigate the Orcs. We head to the nearest dwarven tunnels and portals, to get us to Setagen. We have to fly part of the way and find a convenient cliff to take off from. That works really well, but the landing isn't so good and I clipped a branch on the way down and face planted myself in the dirt. At least not on my back, Bella is still safe. We wander the tunnels and come out at the closest spot to Setagen. We pull out the earring boat again and pop her into the water. We paddle and pole around the coast to the city, make the harbor and head to our inn for the night.

Entry Ten

  • Day 12 of Fruit 808

After a very interesting and tasty breakfast of rice and fruit and goats milk, we head to the harbor master to warn about the orcs. We pop into see Aloise and share what information we have gathered. Yes, Vidall did come visit her, a nice elderly elven gent. Only think of note was the day after we left the city, all the local monks left, just vanished. The monks who came to Setagen to help with the plague are still here, but none of the original locals are. How very odd. We warn Eloise about the Orcs, and we decide we will all go visit the Governor to update him of what we have found out, and the Orc problem.

We headed up to the Governor's mansion, and seek an audience. He sees us pretty promptly and we get down to business of filling him in on everything we have found out. The Orcs are a concerning matter and he gets someone to go do something with the winds to find out what they can find out. We share info while this is happening. The governor is a nice enough chap, seems genuinely concerned for his people, which is always a good thing in a leader. He's a young enough chap, with a good eye for clothes. He has some interesting guards and companions though. One of the chaps with him today, well lets just say there was absolutely nothing remarkable about him at all, if you saw him in a crowd, you would have forgotten all about him. Spy perhaps, would make a good choice. And he seems to be protected somehow, as when Phaeton and i both looked into his aura, all we get was "green or blue". Now that is a weird reading, no short or long lived sentient, not even a human reading, just green or blue. Very odd indeed.

Eventually the winds person, a nice young lady, comes in and whispers to the governor. It seems there is something very odd down where the orcs are. It seems there are 6 ships sitting tied up on the coast near the Dragon's Claws. Could it be the 6 missing boats? So we offer to go check them out, and the governor organises to give us wind walking and flying so we can travel fast down to the Dragon's Claw.

We windwalk out along the coast, and when they run out the flying kicks in and we head north. We come up to an estuary where a river comes from the land. The boats are parked along the river part. We land nearby without being seen, we make everyone unseen and fly in for a closer look at the boats. There is no one on them, they are empty of people. They seem to be tied up fine, but it all screams TRAP to me. Someone spots smoke further inland up river, so we fly inland a bit to have a closer look. We eventually make out an Orc party, moving slowly through the jungle. Seems they are moving in the direction of the ships, so someone has left the ships here specifically for the Orcs to use. Very odd. The Orc party is quite big, maybe a couple of hundred, with females and litters of young. Using that as a gauge for how fast they can move, we work out it will probably be a couple of weeks or so to get to the ships. Gives us a time frame to deal with the boats.

We head back and start checking out the area. Phaeton and I check aura's all over the beach, and then look at the boats before setting foot anywhere on them. Cher even goes under water to have a look under the ships, and finds 2 strips of cleared hull on each ship. Like the ship was picked up or carried with something rubbing along those 2 parts of the ship. To think what would be big enough to move something ship size, it's rather scary to think of what's going on here.

We found some very odd wards on the ships. In fact we found them very well warded and protected. And both ends, centered on the top of the anchor chains was the same ward. One of those nasty icky blood-thingy college spells best described as Flash Storm. It was set to trigger if anything non Orc climbed up the chains.

The second ward which was right in the middle of the ship was different, it was also one of this icky college spells but was something like The Skeletons of Society. The ward is a 15ft sphere and is some sort of transformation and animation spell. Basically the whole ship is covered in a ward of some description, so t get rid of them off all the 6 ships is going to take some time.

Morgan goes up to have a look on the ships, seeing as she is Orc, and can get through the wards. She notices blood drops on the boat, seem ritualistic in the way they have fallen on the wood. Maybe part of this Skeletons of Society ward. The blood is human.

We made camp tonight on the beach, and plan to fly back to Setagen tomorrow to share what we have found with the Governor.

Entry Eleven

  • Day 13 of Fruit 808