Tir Na n'Fir

If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.
Wherein Jaeger makes a friend

The doors (Deep Metal with Leyan handles) had a type of hidden hinge I’ve not seen before, moving well past what I thought they should. Cora and Tobias opened them outward revealing a throne room with rows of mahogany benches and a throne of green stone, seen in the pyramid and the treasure from the swamp, decorated with two dragons, one on each side. The light was coming from a Leyan chandelier in the ceiling which Tobias said was worth a fortune. Looking around, I didn’t see any murder holes, sticks on the floor or obvious traps or doorways. My next thought was secret passages, and I asked Lan to use her Palantir to see through the walls to see if there were any doors we couldn’t easily see. She paced the room and quickly identified two areas with something behind them, the throne and the right rear of the room, as you walked in.

Fife was unable to find a mechanism on the right wall, but was quickly able to find a handle to open a door behind the throne, which revealed a dark passageway. Before we explored the corridor, Cora sat on the throne and placed her hands on the gemstones in the armrests. Immediately her titles were announced, which took ten minutes, ending with a command to approach her and be humble. I tried my luck and was announced as a minor noble, and then Lan tried the same thing to the same effect. Osmun and Fife sat next, and on a whim, I asked Amit to do the same, which surprisingly resulted in thirty minutes or roaring while he fought off boredom. I wonder if that was actually Amit’s pedigree being cited or perhaps the spirit within the magic sword which was imbued into his claws.

Having decided we had made sufficient noise, we then lit a torch and proceeded down the corridor, with Tobias taking point and Kellyn remaining to guard the cart. The first room contained 35 purple velvet cloaks on mahogany hooks with another door leading to a bedroom, and continuing down the hall, we found a room which contained 25,000 platinum plates and I had a moment of greed which I had to fight to immediately ask Kellyn to transport all the plates to the Oasis. I did ask her to come to the room so that she could use the transportation staff to get back here if we needed to.

The next room had a needle trap in the door which Fife safely discharged. I asked him to check to see if there were any others, recalling the pyramid and the fifty needles in the door. Cora then snarked “Which explains Shalev’s life.” Fife instead elected to jam the mechanism so nothing else could fire, and Cora unlocked the door, though it took her an hour to do so. There were no traps detected on this door, and Cora once again unlocked it. Sadly, this door did had a trap which released a gas which made all in the room save Cora fall asleep, leaving only her and Osmun, who had waited in the corridor, still awake.

When we came to, several hours later, Cora opened the door and revealed a Leyan circle with a man with armor in the center, looking straight up. Tobias sensed nothing holy or unholy about him and I was able to sense two spirits within the Leyan, one Lawful Neutral and one Neutral Good. Cora expressed a belief that he was a paladin. In addition to the armor, there was a large sword, three foot long, and I suspected one of the two spirits was him and the other was the sword or something else on him. I asked Kellyn to come assist and she could immediately sense the magic of the sword, even through the Leyan, and indicated she could have gotten the man out, although perhaps without doing some damage to it, so Cora elected to try a less destructive way with her own magic.

Cora was able to move the Leyan up and down once, and spent the more than half a day somehow softening the Leyan, until some of his skin was free. I asked Lan to do her diagnostic spell on man, to perhaps reveal what spell or conditions he was under. I suggested to Jaeger that he power her spell, and he carefully asked me to confirm it was magic, not the power of Leilanna being used, before doing so. The spell didn’t go the way intended, based on his reaction, though there was no further effect. Lan cast the spell again and proclaimed that he had died of old age. Checking his body, I sensed only the Neutral Good spirit, and believed his own soul had traveled to its judgement. Scanning the sword, I asked the compass if the blade would harm me if I touched it, and it concretely said it would. Kellyn was able to read the Fywarean writing on the blade, which proclaimed it to be presented to Albrecht Chrondor by the Fyreaweans. I then checked our party to see who, if anyone might be able to use it. Jaeger was the closest, which I told him, and asked him if we wished to attempt to wield it, as if it injured him, we should be able to heal him. He asked for the sheath to be freed first, which took another sixteen hours, before it came loose, spilling a Leyan sword mold onto the floor, which Tobias promptly claimed. I readied a potion and he grasped the sword and paused for a moment, before sheathing it.

We discussed funeral rites for the body, and Jaeger revealed certain communal property beliefs, and mentioned that he must now give half his treasure to the sword. I suggested we prepay him with the platinum in the other room, and Kellyn stated that smelled of politics and would not go well. Bowing to her wisdom, we ceased that line of thought, though we did take the man’s armor and wrapped him in some of the robes from the next room, when I suggested giving the armor to Suliman at the volcano. This was acceptable to him, and we cleaned the Leyan off the armor before Cora began to pack it around him again. Afterward, I stated a desert blessing for the dead, and wished him justice and mercy, when suddenly there was a loud ringing sound from outside. It appears that Jaeger’s sword agreed with my sentiment.

As it was now time to leave, we elected to take some of the bars with us, and were able to fit 32 into Tobias’ box, using the silk rope I acquired at the Volcano to lower the bars one at a time, as quickly as possible. Two were left out, for Jagaer’s share, to be given to the sword, which refused it. I had a bad feeling, and suggested we put the platinum plates back, agreeing Jaeger that taking it was a bad idea, and stating I wanted none of it. I was told that I was incorrect, and I offered a bar to Ma’at, and was told not to tithe with the TOMB of others. The Tomb, and not the treasure. I once more warned the party, telling them that if this was part of the tomb, and not the treasure, there could be negative consequences. Fife derisively stated that I have a hero complex and that no matter what the others did, I would save them. Enlightened to this attitude, I resolved to not repeat that mistake. Prior to leaving, I offered Ma’at all the platinum coins I possessed, both as tithe and apology and she told me to give it to widows and orphans. I immediately tried to remember what I knew of fostering, and began to discuss with Cora the ways to foster orphans and to more wisely spend my money.

We elected to continue back the way we came to go to the next city, and four weeks later we ran into some disreputable men, who told us they wanted us to join them for dinner. I asked Amit if he smelled anyone else and he looked to the North. Cora readied her bow and aimed in that direction and more men stood up. There were eleven by the lake, eighteen here, and I was frankly tired of the frustrations I had felt lately, especially when some spot checks affirmed these men were all evil. I drew my sword and asked them if they preferred to be burned or buried, studying the leader (who had the most complete set of aluminum armor) to see where to strike, when they decided to engage us. Jaeger suddenly told me to cover my eyes and I warned the others in desert common to do the same. The men by the lake didn’t hear us, and Jaeger said something and then said it was over, and we noticed the men by the lake appeared blind. Taking him to be larger threat, most attacked Jaeger, with half as many engaging me. I killed the leader instantly, missed the leader of the bowmen, but killed another member with a bow of a type I had never seen before, aiming carefully to not harm it. Fife managed to pin the arms of two wielding short bows, and Cora killed another right before Tobias smashed the bowman leader. Strangely, those attacking Jaegar paused to discuss who should be in charge instead of continuing to attack. I wounded another of the archers, who Tobias then finished, and then killed another, just before Cora tossed a pineapple seed at them, obliterating them just as Jaeger said something else, leaving scattering of body parts in the air.

Hearing screams, I wondered where Amit was, and saw him playing with the blind men by the lake. Walking over, I quickly dispatched all but one, who was wounded by Fife in the melee. I questioned him, asking why he was here, why he was a bandit, and learned that he had been trapped here. Recalling Ishmael at the volcano, I considered that if I pledged my word, Ishmael might take this man as an apprentice, and give him a chance at an honest life. The bandit was disinterested, and indicated that all he knew was the sword, and felt that raiding was more appropriate than starving. It did not appear to occur to him to be a guard or to try to start over, and I asked him again if he would consider changing his moral outlook, he again refused, and made no attempt to even lie about changing his nature. Given that I had offered to heal him and give him a letter of recommendation if he swore to change his ways, and he still wasn’t interested, I was resolved. Without a further word, I quickly took his hood, a merciful death, I believe. He was a bandit and had raided before, and likely would again.

Tobias, Fife, and Osmun were outraged at my action, thinking I had been unnecessarily callous. I believe they forgot who I am. I am a noble, and as nobles go, I am gracious and polite, and unusually willing to get my hands dirty, figuratively and literally, but at the end of the day, I am a Paladin of Balance and have been raised knowing I may someday pass judgement for crimes. I questioned this man, learning of the war with the Ras Babbans, who are on the other side of the mountain range, and who defeated the Gnomes resulting in the city being sealed and the men being trapped here. He also said the nearest township was near Mount Wanake and near that is a Waglebug college where there are maps and academic Fae. In the city of Emer, we should not bother the dragon, but the minions and others live peacefully, and the dragon keeps a harem so he may show off his singing. The Sylvan tree is not there any longer, and the wizard was journeying around looking for tree seeds or saplings and the maps at the college record his journey.

I had questioned the man, had given him every change to rethink his choices, and if he had truthfully been willing to change, I would have healed and cared for him, and given him money as a backup to start a new life. Instead, he will no longer bother the citizens of this vale, and the fact that the broach was charged by their deaths tells me that on some level, they were out of balance and killing them restored it. There was no intentional cruelty in my action, and he was given three chances to repent, even if he did not recognize them or take them.

Jaeger asked me why the others were yelling at me, and I explained they disliked my actions. He then asked me to translate for him, and told them they should remember the name of his sword, before he ran them through.

It appears he may share some of my views on justice.

We burned the bodies, including those pieces large enough to be seen after Cora tossed the pineapple at that. I’ve requested an inventory of the party supplies, as we should immediately make for the village to acquire more plant foods, as we are running dangerously low, and we will need to barter for what we need. I’ve thankful that I bought so much tea, as it may very well be the thing which gets us the food we need to keep going.

It was time to hunt.

Before we left the tower, I asked Lan to heal me. Having been shocked by the door and then the sword, I wished to face the next danger as capable as I could, and she obliged, telling me I should be more careful of what I touch. She was right, of course, I had let the excitement of the sword outway my sense of caution, and will remember this lesson for the future. Jaegar entered the circle after we left it, and cast a spell with little noticeable effect, at least initially. After he left the circle, the ground appeared to rise up to meet him, and he didn’t respond to questions, and so I let him be.

We gathered our things and departed from the tower, heading in one direction, hoping it might quickly take us to the castle. By day, we traveled as quickly as possible, alert for additional attacks, and at night, Kellyn gave me additional swimming lessons. It’s possible I am being paranoid but the memory of the man falling into the water and fearing drowning may very well be a portent of my future, and I would rather prepare without reason than be caught incapable. After a week, Jaegar starts responding to us again, perhaps a sign that his ritual was over. It would behoove me to learn more of Orcs and their culture, should he be willing to teach me.

Another week passed, without incident, and we passed a forest of glass trees, which I fruitlessly explored. The glass was extremely sharp, to the point where it would cut through anything I attempted to store it in, and I gave up after a time, realizing that it was likely not worth the effort to keep one. Some things are valuable because they are rare, and thus not easy to carry with.

We kept going around the lake, and realized we were close to the center of the bowl and able to see the Dragon more clearly. Asking Lan if she recognized it, given that it is fae proved rather fruitless, as her description was noncommittal, thus either she did not know much or did not wish to speak of it. It is my hope that we will survive the Dragon’s attentions enough to enter the city and examine the tree, so Cora may learn how to heal the Sylvan tree and decide what to do to those who would abuse it.

Given Kellyn’s geas and Jaeger’s family’s fate, Cora has agreed to alter the order of our plans. We’ll finish here, return the library book, and then transport as close as possible to the mountain of the orcs, the better to remove their ability to heal and remove their threat from the surrounding villages. After that, we can return to Basil to speak to the elves, prior to returning to Mat’ron in order to deal with the elves. I still recall one of the nobles speaking of a cup which the compass stated would be capable of healing Gran’tir. I’m uncertain why Leilana values him sufficiently to geas Kellyn to heal him, but this order makes the most sense. Once we have the cup, Kellyn can take us there directly, and we may free her from it. Tobias mentioned a woman in that city who might be able to instruct me in the marital arts, so that I do not return to the Princess untutored, though I believe I will limit the interaction between us, lest I return impure. Traditionally, it may be the bride who goes to the marriage bed untouched, but as I am to be the consort, I believe it best I be married knowing I have sired no offspring. Given I am uncertain at what the blessing and the earring will accomplish, it’s best I be cautious in this matter.

We passed fields of plants, which Tobias recognized as a potion warehouse, and we walked to the front to speak to the Master, after Lan informed us the word on the door was “Apothecary.”

I traded my last five draughts of pure healing for twenty potions of extra healing, for these alchemists to study, which Cora informed me was poor form, as Basil might not appreciate his formula being given away. While technically, I did nothing they could not have done, had they wished to, I will make it a point to give him components and other items to repair any damages I may have caused his business. The boar skin was traded for twenty potions of initiative, which may be useful if we face creatures capable of reacting swifter than us, and Osmun traded a dragon rib for two potions of delusion and the potions of extra healing. The shelf life of the potions was three years, so it should last us long enough to use them, given how often we have needed them of late. I gave five of the healing potions to Cora, two to Tobias, and one to Fife, Kellyn, and Lan, as Osmun had his own supply, and Jaeger has as of yet not been seriously wounded.

Jaegar asked about the best dwarven alcohol they have available, and was presented with two dusty bottles of dwarven brandy, 500 years old, filtered with mithral. He offered a cockatrice eye, and the Master revealed he now knows Locasta is out of the tower, as he was the one who sold it to her. He then ordered his men to take 100 men to raid the tower, and gave Jaeger one of the bottles. When I asked for equal value in exchange, he told me the bottle Jaegar received was a reward enough.

Jaeger did offer the face of the boar, and when the master asked if he had taken the magic from the creature, replied that he had not. I quickly inserted that Kellyn had, not wishing to cheat the fae, lest they seek revenge later. Lan informed me later that day that speaking to the Fae was like speaking to the City guard, and that all answers were to be both brief and literal, volunteering no additional information not specifically requested. I will do as she advised in the future.

We did take with us one more piece of information, namely that they know of the rock that burns, something Ishmael is likely to be pleased to learn of, and for which he may be willing to provide additional assistance when we pass his way again. He will no longer be a member of the party and will likely treat us as he would any other group of adventurers, which is fair, as we would now likely treat him like any other merchant, barring a special request.

We departed, and as the time to do rituals passed, Kellyn felt badly about her ritual, which was done without Lan collapsing, thus perhaps not even reaching her goddess. If she asks, I will try to teach her a more formal way of speaking to the divine so as to perhaps be more successful in her interactions, but only if she asks. At the end of the day, so long as the wrath does not affect the rest of us, how she deals with her goddess is her business.

We continued and arrived at a ramp leading to the castle. The portcullis was closed though the drawbridge was open. These compass reported no life capable of speech alive inside the castle, which does not preclude magical creatures, living mutes, golems, or undead, and so we entered the castle cautiously, after Lan used her Palantir to mist through the gate to raise the portcullis.

After searching a significant number of rooms, I took ten halberds and two sets of aluminum paste armor for the possible reproduction at a later date. The combat utility is likely minimal, but Jaeger insisted that they were valuable, and perhaps Ishmael may be able to replicate them out of a more hearty metal. We went up to the battlements, went down, searched more buildings and collect cots, silverware, and found a stone which does a wonderful job keeping a small room cool. It’s possible it could be removed and taken with us, but that would be done on our way out, as I suspect it would require special handling. Jaeger and Kellyn took a large stone from the kitchen, which weighed enough that it might damage the cart, and Cora took some magnificent knives, whose craftsmanship she appreciated. In the training area, Tobias found a hammer of great weight which he elected to keep, and it appears that even his box can be filled up rather quickly, given the amounts we are taking. I suspect there will come a time, rather quickly, when we need to triage what to leave and what to take. For now, we will continue exploring the castle. There was a sigil in the floor, which sadly I did not recognize, perhaps because I have been too long from the noble courts, and perhaps because it was too foreign from my experience. The décor of this place is odd. No torches, no places for torches, no chamber pots or privies, and it looks as if this is the castle of someone with more money than taste. This could be a difference in style, given my preferences for the simple, but I suspect we may not wish to spend the night here, if we can avoid it.

We’re about to enter, and see what fortune holds for us.

The Lost City - A Castle full of Ghosts
Thoughts from the point of view of Cora'sol "The Immortal"

cross posted from Cora’s Travel Journal


Locasta’s tower proved to be a treasure trove of magical components and herbal ingredients. The party spent several days going through each room of the place to see what else could be found. Jaeger, Lan, and KelLyn took their pick of the best and most expensive components; and I took several bags worth of the herbal ingredients to add to my own stores.

Shalev managed to somehow take some serious damage at one point in the explorations, and he approached Lan with a request to heal him. They stepped into the circle that was located at the top of the tower, and Lan cast her spell. The air in the tower room crackled with energy, and she looked at him critically for a moment before laying her hands on him and healing him completely. She told him sternly that he had been affected by an intensely powerful negative reaction from touching something that he shouldn’t have.

Once she had completed her casting, and they had stepped out and away from the circle, Jaeger looked around for a moment and then he stepped into the circle. He began waving his hands in the now-familiar casting motions, and there was a huge amount of energy that burst out in waves. There were no other tangible or visible effects from whatever he cast though, and after another moment, he also stepped away from the circle.

On principle, Shalev cast his Detect Evil spell and confirmed that an alabaster jar that they had seen in the kitchen was radiating evil. He discussed options with the party, and we all decided that it was best just to leave it alone. He placed a stick across the doorway to the kitchen, as he had seen the curse-causing sticks placed in the dwarven city. I do not know if it will do any good, but it made him feel better to do it.

Fife was still drinking heavily, but did not appear to be cursed any more. We put him in the cart, and the party continued on toward the castle where the ethereal army had come from. It looked like it was about two weeks or so of travel to make it around the lake, and I made note that everything we had encountered thus far was not as it seemed at first, so distances would also likely be suspect. As we traveled, Shalev continued to work with KelLyn on improving his swimming skills, although I wonder if he realizes that he already surpasses most of the other humans I have seen in this regard.

After two weeks, we had not, in fact, reached the castle itself. Instead we came upon a forest made entirely of glass. The trees were magnificent, and definitely alive, as they were warm to my touch. The leaves were translucent and beautiful, and we saw shards and pieces on the ground near the base of the trees where older leaves and branches had fallen and shattered. Shalev attempted to gather some of the pieces, but only managed to cut himself in the process, so left them alone. I cast a general blessing of health on the forest, and then also recast my Whispers of the Way spell. It is my hope that by continuing to listen to the spoken language of the fae here that I might be able to pick up enough of an understanding to allow me to comprehend what is being said. I have started to pick out several words with regards to the party, and hopefully with Lan’s help, I can continue to improve.

We continued to travel without incident, and after a time we realized that we were traveling extremely close to the center of the bowl shaped valley. We could see the dragon flying clearly overhead, and were able to get a good look at the enormous creature for the first time. Lan recognized the dragon as the Cardinal Protector of the plant realm in the Fae world, although she said that he was much larger than he was supposed to be. Her description of the dragon, and the knowledge that everything here is trapped inside the circle of mushrooms gave me a pause.

Up to this point we had been going on the information that the dragon was the foe here. I wonder though, more and more, if the dragon is NOT the enemy we should be concerned about. The more I hear about the wizard in the ruins of the emerald city, the more I am convinced that the dragon was sent here to protect the sylvan tree at the heart of the city. Dragons as a whole are not of this world, and I have also come to consider that this dragon might perhaps be willing to speak to us instead of attacking us outright. It is my hope anyway. He has certainly had the opportunity to do so, and judging from the sheer size of the creature I have seen flying overhead, he could take us out without a second thought and yet we have gone unmolested. This bears more thought, and I find myself wishing that I could speak directly to my god and goddess about the matter. My contact with them is dampened by the confining effects of the mushroom circle, however, and my prayers to them go largely unanswered – though I can still get a general sense of acknowledgement.

Another two weeks of travel passed by without incident, and we found ourselves passing by large open fields that were planted with a variety of plants that I was not familiar with. We saw large buildings in the distance, and we saw men out among the plants harvesting the crops periodically. As we approached, we saw that the largest building was an alchemist’s warehouse designed for mass production of potions. There were large ceramic vats, and I noticed again that the herbs and plants grown in the fields were unfamiliar to me. I also noticed, with keen interest, that the workmen that we passed in the fields were singing to the plants. I listened intently to the tune, though I still did not understand enough of the fae language to discern what he was saying.

Shalev asked about the large building, and was told that it was the store. Not wanting to damage the crops or fields, we left the cart, guarded by KelLyn, Fife, and Osmun, at the main road, and we made our way through the fields to the largest central building. The sign above it was written in Fae, and Lan translated it to us saying it read “Apothecary.” We walked in and saw a large storefront area where there were bins filled with high quality ceramic and alabaster jars containing a variety of potions and salves. A portly man introduced himself as the store manager, and greeted us warmly. Shalev asked him if he had a list of potions available, and inquired as to what he had for sale as well as information about the area.

The man told us that the store here was in Wenke proper, but that he catered to the entire area, and the road we had left the cart on went west to Emer. When asked about the price for potions, he informed us that the cost might be work, errands, raw materials, or other things and that it would vary depending on what we had to offer and what we wanted. I cautioned him quietly that we were still dealing with fae, and that he should be wary of any job he agreed to do. Shalev handed the man one of the healing potions that we had purchased from Basil, and asked if it were possible to reverse engineer it. The man’s eyes lit up and he quickly took the potion from Shalev’s hands to look at it. The man said he could, and without considering the repercussions of the action, Shalev then handed over 5 of the potions. the man offered 20 regular healing potions with a shelf life of three years in return. It was only after the deal had been made, and I warned him that Basil would be extremely angry at having his recipe shared, that Shalev realized the error, but the agreement had been struck and there was nothing to be done about it.

I asked the man if it would be possible to gather some samples of the plants, as they were unfamiliar to me and I was curious about their properties. He expressed doubt that I would be able to keep them alive, and I showed him my personal collection of herbs, seedlings, and plants that I had gathered along our journeys so far. His eyes widened when he saw the ent seeds, and he asked if I would be willing to part with them. I respectfully declined, letting him know that I had been informed that I would know whom to give them to when the time was right. He spoke to one of his workers briefly and said that he had a suspicion about the potions that Shalev had given him. The worker ran off to the back to check on whatever the man had asked.

While we waited for the worker to return, Shalev asked if the store manager would be interested in the green boar skin. The manager said he would be, and Shalev informed him that it was on the cart by the road, as we had not wished to risk harming the plants in the fields. The man said it would not be an issue, and he sent out several workers to accompany Shalev back to the cart. Once there, they began singing again to the plants in the ground in order to move them out of the way to clear a path for the cart to travel. I once more paid close attention to the melodies that they sang, and asked Lan if she would translate what they were saying to me.

The store manager took a look at the verdant hide, and offered a variety of potions in exchange for it. Shalev chose a set of 20 potions that would increase performance in battle. Osman offered one of the short ribs that we had taken from the corpse of the black dragon in his own trade, and he received three healing potions and two alcoholic potions which the manager warned were strong enough to cause delusions. Shalev distributed the healing potions among myself, Lan, KelLyn, Fife, and Tobias, as we did not have any yet; and kept the performance potions with his own gear.

Jaeger also bartered with the store manager, using the head of the green boar and a handful of the spel components that he had taken from Locasta’s tower to trade for some very rare and very expensive dwarven alcohol. He and the store manager spoke at length in dwarven, and after the conversation concluded, the store manager turned to his workers and said something. A large band of men gathered together and immediately moved out toward the direction of the now-vacant tower, and I wondered if there would be anything left of the structure once they were finished with whatever they had set out to do.

The worker who had run into the back area returned then and whispered something to the store manager. The manager shot a quick glance at me and said that his suspicion had been confirmed. He turned to me directly then and told me that one of the components in the healing potions that Basil crafted was the blood of an ent. I raised an eyebrow at this bit of information, and recalled the young ents that I had seen in Basil’s gardens. Young yet, and not sentient, I did not recall seeing wounds on them when I checked their health, but vowed to myself that I would have a conversation with Basil about them as soon as I returned.

I took the opportunity then to speak to the store manager to inquire about possibly learning how to sing to the plants as they did. He informed me that they way they sang was conditioned to the profession specifically and would not suit me. He did let me know that I should focus on the meaning or the desire, and that the songs would come in time. I asked him, if I were ever to find myself in this area again, whom to ask for, and he gave me instruction to ask for the Master of the Land.

I thanked him for the information, and for his time, and the party gathered their supplies and made our way back out to the road. Once we were there, I began making a book containing detailed sketches and descriptions of the plants that grew here. I could not get any samples to take with me, and out of respect to the alchemists here, I did not take any, but it is my hope that the sketches and descriptions will aid me if I ever encounter the plants in a place where I can gather samples. We traveled on and the season changed over to Fall. When we made camp that evening, I spent a long time in ritual. Even though there is still no direct connection to my god and goddess here, I did get a sense of affirmation that let me know that they were still there, and I was still doing the right things.

After a few more days of travel, we reached a ramp leading up to the castle, and I noted that as aggressive as the people here had been toward us so far, it was a wonder and a concern that they had not attacked us yet. We saw no sentries of any kind, and drawbridge was down even though the portcullis was closed. We made our way cautiously up the ramp to the gates, and noted the spikes that lined the pits below the drawbridges. The party was in full view, but still there was no sign of life at all.

There were actually two gates, both closed, and we asked Lan if she would be willing to use her orb to change to a mist to go through the gates and open them from the other side. She agreed, and the portcullises rose easily. The party made its way through and into the courtyard. I checked the area for traps, and noted again how silent this place was. No sound, no life, no one. It was disconcerting, and it immediately put me on a high guard. We began exploring the area inside, discovering armories, barracks, a kitchen, and a stable. Inside the armory, the walls were lined with pole-arms and spears made of an extremely light material that Jaeger called aluminum. Jaeger, Fife, and Shalev gathered up about 30 of the weapons ad put them on the cart.

Nothing seemed out of the ordinary, aside from the lack of life, or any signs of life, so we made our way through the back door and out into an alleyway. We ventured up the stairs to the walled battlements. The walls here were massively thick, and we saw a gap corresponding to a tower section where there were 3 large catapults and a huge wooden door in the floor which opened up to reveal an array of giant pumpkin artillery and an extremely well maintained wench system to bring them up.

Osman nervously recommended that we close the gates, but the lever to the gates was located between the two, effectively trapping one person inside. We also pointed out that it was the only way out, and we did not want to have to spend time worrying about reopening the gates if we had to make a hasty exit. We continued our explorations, and discovered a second armory that held suits of armor made of that same light material. Jaeger and Tobias took four of the sets of armor, as it is worth a king’s ransom even though it is effectively useless as protection.

The next door lead us to a Lawful Holy temple, though there were no symbols or anything visible at all to indicate to whom the temple was dedicated. I warned Shalev not to try praying here, as it was likely not aligned with his goddess, and might be seen as disrespect. I checked the area again for traps, and finding nothing, we continued our explorations of the eerily empty city. When we came to the barracks, we noticed that the beds were actually a type of folding cot. We took several of the cots to use, as they would make a considerable improvement over sleeping on the ground.

Back through the doors, and up the stairs to the central wall there were a number of ballista, again with the wooden doors and wench systems. Tobias took a keen interest in the ballista mechanisms and asked to borrow the broken crossbow that Shalev carried. He spent several moments comparing the weapons, and made some notes on how the pieces fit together. I think he may be trying to find a way to repair the crossbow, and seeing essentially the same weapon in a larger scale gave him ample chance to study.

The next room we discovered was a kitchen and dining area. Everything here is pristine to the point of having obviously never been used. Shalev gathered up the dinnerware and utensils in a serving set for 24 people. Everything here is also made of this aluminum material, and so worth a considerable amount. In the butchers area I found three gorgeous knives and one cleaver, all with damascus blades and layan handles. I claimed these as my own, and KelLyn and Jaeger look at the massive chopping block in contemplation. It was 750 lbs of ebony and mahogany wood, and it took them several moments to figure out how to move it and store it on the cart without causing damage to anything. On the far wall, I noticed an inset handle which opened up a concealed room that was extremely cold. Inside there were stacks of meats wrapped in paper and labelled in fae. Lan read the labels at Shalev’s request and became exceedingly grumpy. Shalev asked her if any of the meat was edible, and she angrily kicked him in the shins before telling him sniffily that the meats were seal, baby seal, walrus, and whale, and then stomping off.

Jaeger studied the glimmering blue stone that was embedded in the far wall, and said that it was what was keeping the room at such a frigid temperature. Both he and KelLyn spent a moment trying to figure out how to remove and store the stone, but decided to leave it as it was for now and come back to it later on.

We made our way out to the gatehouse, and the doors there opened up into a hallway with no lights. He used his night vision to see down the dark hall, and he noticed a black marble square on the floor. KelLyn informed us that the square was not magical, and Tobias indicated that there was a matching square in the same spot down the opposite hallway. Jaeger went over to the marble square and cast a spell to try to lift it up out of the floor, but was unable to budge it at all. We made our way through the double doors into a large room with a coat of arms in mosaic on the floor. Shalev studied the arms for a moment, but could not tell us anything specific about who they belonged to. The next room revealed itself to be a stable, with space for 40 horses. I pointed out that this was an odd place to have a stable, as normally the stables in the cities I had seen were outside of the main house. Once again, everything here was in pristine never-been-used condition, and there was not even dust on the floors, but there was still no sign of life, or of anything organic at all.

Through the next set of doors, we found a deep metal forge that had also never been used. On the anvil was a damaged sheet of the aluminum material and a deep metal hammer. We took the hammer, thinking that if we ever made our way back to Ishmael he might appreciate such a gift. Tobias placed the hammer inside his box of holding, as it was heavy enough that it would cause damage to the cart if it were not secured in some way.

Noticing the practice dummies against one side of the room, Shalev asked Tobias to throw something at them, but nothing happened. He then said something to Jaeger in dwarfish, and Jaeger turned into a raven and flew out to scout around the castle. After a moment, he returned, and told us where the stairs were that lead to the main area. The mansion was ostentatiously made pf rose colored marble, and the handles of the doors were made of layan. We decided to rest for a moment before venturing inside, as we had no idea what awaited and we wanted to be as prepared as possible.

This whole place has the feeling of being created by someone who had too much wealth and no real knowledge. It is laid out in a strange fashion, and the things that we have seen have been expensive and ornate, but ultimately useless in function other than decoration. There is no sign of life, or that this place ever held life. It’s like it was built, and then abandoned. The only thing that indicates anyone is here at all is the lack of dust or clutter of any kind. I have a concern that once the sun goes down in this strange place that we may find ourselves in an entirely different circumstance. We are still within the massive fairy circle, and as always, I fear that nothing here is entirely as it seems.

In the tower of the evil fisherwoman
In which we get a lot of really good Elven wine

After seeing Locasta sent to wherever Kellyn opened the portal to, we began to investigate the tower. Lan did a search the lake, in case there were other items of use to us left there from previous transformed visitors, before we started in earnest.

The door was open, and Kellyn wisely examined in lest it have a curse or other defense on it, and discovered it was enchanted with the power of spirits and demons. I attempted to remove the curse with my sword but there was not successful. Sadly, time appears to move differently here, as far as my sword is concerned, if nothing else, and it will take another week before it is capable of disenchanting anything.

Fife checked for traps and took point, followed by Kellyn and then Jaeger, as the traps we are likely to encounter, they would be best suited to deal with. The first room had a kitchen, a display of art, including pots (one of which, an alabaster jar radiated powerfully unholy), suits of armor which radiated magic, a hidden door, and another set of stairs. Behind the hidden door was a magnificent wine cellar, filled with all manner of elven wines (1,193 bottles), and three bottles marked with what looked like a Dwarven rune. I suggested we store the wine in Tobias’ box, and suggested we may want to build a wooden ladder to making going up and down easier, as Fife and Tobias could thus load it faster and more safely. Kellyn objected, on the grounds that Fife might come to harm due to his issues with luck, and I flippantly responded that we had a scroll to raise the dead. Truthfully, I didn’t think he would come to harm, as it had been some time since he had been clumsy, so I thought perhaps his curse was wearing off. Fife’s reaction was to take a large slug of something in a strange bottle, with a unique cap which managed to seal the liquid somehow. It also made him very drunk.

Cora, Osmun and Tobias began moving the wine into the box, and I started to write a list of what we had, copying the marks and labels so we would have a wine list of sorts, to aid in the appraisal and distribution if we needed it. Given that it was all artisan levels of Elven wine, with ages ranging from 75 to 600 years, we now have a fortune in wine. We next moved to the kitchen, where there was food and herbs, which I purified in case of poison and an icebox, which contained four salmon and three tails from merpeople. Using the tortoise shell, I scooped up the salmon and tossed them into the water, and then did the same to the first of the tails, while Jaeger grabbed the other two and we tossed them into the water as well, per Lan’s answer about the proper method of respect to be shone to the dead.

Sadly, none of the armor, all of which radiated magic, looked like it would fit Osmun, being small enough that even Fife would be too big to wear it. We took the silverware and herbs and added it to our stores, and went upstairs.

Fife checked the stairs for traps, finds none, and we proceed.

The next level had a bed and a privy, and another set of stairs going up. Fife found a rainbow colored rock of the kind seen in Waycomb, in the mattress, and in the privy Jaeger found just a chamber pot filled with a red liquid.

Fife checked the stairs for traps, finds none, and we proceed.

We advanced up the stairs and come to a room with two windows, four doors, a wall halfway across the room, and the lamp with a small hurricane above it.

Kellyn cast her Nature of Things spell on the hurricane, and reported it had the power of air and water, with power far beyond her power to dispel, being very old and possibly Fyewarian. The lamp was situated in from of the middle two doors, such that we could not enter them without getting past the mini hurricane. Jaeger began to try to move the lamp, and then Fife bade him wait a moment, before Fife managed to blow out the flame in the lantern, thus dispelling the hurricane, which Jaeger commented he was going to try before we pointed out it could be dangerous.

The first door on the far right had a bedroom with a bed and a candle, and little else of interest.

The second door on the right appeared to be a research study, containing notes of various kinds of interest to Kellyn, who asked how long we can stay. Looking around at the defensible position, easy water source, easy sightlines and research material, I offered two to three days initially, as we can always decide to stay longer if we need to, but that should be long enough to get a sense of time she will need. Of the research notes, she indicated it was notes on how to make a potion.

The third door on the right was filled to bursting with boxes, labeled in a script Lan was able to read and identify as Fae. The best she could translate the organizational method was “Alphabetically by size.”

The Fourth door on the right (first door on the left) was a research lab for alchemy, albeit on a more delicate scale, with anvils, hammers, silver bowls, racks made of silvery metal (which Jaeger identified as a dwarven metal called Aluminum), and of deep metal, made to work with delicate, small components. Jaeger was able to make out a progress based organizational system, and a potion of luck was identified.

Fife began to search again, and found a door by the stairs which had a spell on it. He was unable to detect it, and when he touched it, began to get electrified. I touched him in an attempt to heal him, and was myself shocked. Jaeger, seeing this comedy of errors, cast a spell to shrink Fife’s arm, but sadly didn’t consider it was a touch spell, and was also shocked. He did manage to complete the spell, and Fife’s arm was no longer touching the door, and thus the shock ended. I healed myself, Fife drank a Draught of Pure Healing, and Lan examined Jaeger. He demanded to know what she was doing, and I informed him that she was attempting to heal him, as that was her profession. The rest of us, used to her behavior, were rather nonplussed when she grabbed my sword to thrust the hilt into his crotch and managed to discharge some electricity, making him feel noticeably better.

To get past the door, Lan unmade the door, causing it to fall to pieces and other spells on it to discharge harmlessly.

We went through the door, up the stairs, and entered a room which appears to be a testing area, with smoke, dirt, and dust marks all over, which glass shards on the floor, along with a magical circle

Fife noticed the impression of a body against the wall, and points it out, and following the line of one of the arms, we notice a sword in the ceiling. There was a discussion about looping rope around the sword and pulling, but given how it was imbedded to the hilt, I didn’t think that would work. Fife and Osmun gave the matter serious thought, not wishing to damage the magic circle, when I pointed out the two mattresses below us which might help cause a softer landing.

Six hours later, we had thought to ask Tobias to make a ladder. He did so, which I climbed and grabbed the hilt of the sword. Sadly, perhaps as a reminder to guard my tongue, I did not remember to use my gloves and I felt pain sufficient to cause me to fall off the ladder, though I managed to roll with the fall and not be injured further. I gave Fife the gloves and he attempted to pull the sword with no success. Kellyn tried and was also hurt by the magic, and I asked Jaeger for assistance to see if he could soften the stone so we could pull the sword out. He did, and Fife then cleaned off the sword to reveal Fae runes, which Lan translated as Knudde’s Defender, and appears to be aligned with neutrality. Knudde’s may be the fae who impacted the wall, as the size of the imprint of the rings in the wall match the armor down below.

At this point, I went downstairs to make dinner, and suddenly heard the sound of another boar somewhere in the tower. I readied the spear just as I heard a knock from the wine cellar door. Opening it, I saw Jaeger come out, stating he wanted to try something in a safe area, and I asked him to warn us next time.

In a kind gesture, unprompted, Kellyn gave me a magic quill, which will maintain its ink for a month, useful for rare or specialized inks which may be difficult to otherwise acquire.

I served dinner and asked Jaeger to remind Kellyn and Lan of the time, as it was getting late, and we have several days, and they might do better in their investigations in the morning on a night’s rest. The next morning, Fife gave me a swimming lesson that I managed to survive, we checked on the green boarskin I wish to make into armor, and in the evening, Jaeger’s spell on Fife’s arm wore off, but Fife’s arm was two feet longer than it was previously.

Lan attempted to case a spell to fix Fife’s arm, but it not function as expected it instead disintegrated all the bone in his arm. Fife was growing increasingly irate at hapless efforts to heal him, and Kellyn took him outside and managed to regrow the bone in his arm. Jaeger then attempted to fix it using magic. Fife confessed that he feels Jaeger is a danger to the party and is getting angry at the casting of spells on party members that you can’t control precisely. Fortunately, this time it worked and Fife had his arm restored, which was even luckier as it occurred just as a huge pumpkin hit the three of them. Tobias had been outside loading the cart with Cora while Osmun and I kept watch in the windows high in the tower, and somehow we missed the huge pumpkin, though to be fair, we didn’t hear it.

Fife was wounded while Jaeger and Kellen were unharmed, and Kellyn brought him inside and gave him the potion of perfect health and the potion of luck at the same time. This turned him blue and caused him to grow gills. He was able to breathe, but was an effort, and his mood went from irate to murderous. Having seen the first pumpkin and watching for another, we see the knights across the lake, about two days ride going around the lake. He took two of the exploding seeds from Cora, attached them to spears and grabbed the magic sword and went after the knights. He swam in the lake and disappeared, shooting out of the water into the center of the knights in moments, threw the spears, judging by the explosions, and then promptly began to reduce the army to its component parts. Jaeger had taken the form of a raven and flew after him, and returned shortly after, handing me a small piece of metal, which he said was a piece of armor, which was also made from this Aluminum.

Fife described the forms inside the armor as some form of energy, making me fear it may be similar to the Army of Shadows spell Ahriman used to cast. Kellyn offered to cast that spell herself, using the circle above, but I asked her to refrain, as we didn’t know what civilians may be in the area. Jaeger and Kellyn began to discuss the wands and artifacts she possessed and he offered to attempt to recharge her wand. The rest of us left the tower, having taken all we thought we could from it, and Jaeger attempted to cast a spell. It didn’t go off as expected, and a short while later, a cloud of magic left the tower, though there was no effect that we could see. Our next course of action appears to be to go back and deal with the castle, lest they continue sending knights after us, though I wonder if they are perhaps Dwarven, The knights appeared to be human sized but as the metal was aluminum, it’s possible the dwarves are involved, or it could be a function of the spell. Regardless, I am glad we have additional magic weapons with us, bringing the tally to be my Defender and spear, possibly my claymore and staff, Fife’s sword and trident, Cora’s staff, and Tobias’ mace. If we are attacked by undead or other creatures that require magical weapons to damage, we will no longer be entirely dependent on the mages to defend us. They are only two, and as powerful as they are, even they can fall prey to overwhelming odds.

Beware of flying vegetables...
In which we deliver a message and elect not to eat green ham.

We managed to make it to the gnome city, and it appeared deserted. The gates were closed, no one responded, and there did not seem to be any sign of life. Rather than break into a city that was until recently under invasion, when several of us are the race who did the invading, we elected to move on. Hopefully, if we are able to restore the trade at the central city, there will be enough resources available to help them rebuild their city and relight their forges.

Jaeger will not be as difficult to bring into elven or human cities as I thought, due to an ability to disguise himself as a dwarf. A magic user might be able to see through it, but given his power is sufficient to impress even Kellyn, it’s possible he will be able to be undetected as long as he doesn’t draw attention to himself.

Cora used her spell to listen to the road again, and mentioned several words which Lan translated as wondering if we would eat the pumpkins. These were a plant Fife knew of and described, and sure enough, we soon entered an area where they grew. Given the magical nature of this place and the Fae connection, it seemed massively unwise to consume any, especially since we were still in the Pumpkin Patch and would be for some time. I tried to discourage the others from collecting or harming the pumpkins, but they elected to disregard me. This felt similar to the ants we encountered on the way to Eeyore, and if we were going to collect them, we should perhaps do so on our way out. Looking around for would likely attack us, I soon saw a figure with a pumpkin as his head, who alerted us that he was the local king. After collecting several objects from us and asking Fife to decorate it, he gave us something to deliver to a local witch, Locasta, though he was unclear as to its purpose or intended effect. He did tell us that the Dragon did not come here due to the flying monkeys, although I am uncertain what a monkey is or how they would deal with a dragon.

Checking with my compass, I learned that giving the package to Locasta would disrupt the balance, but as the others had eaten of the pumpkins, I was loath to cross the Pumpkin King, lest he take vengeance upon us. Lan has made it very clear that we are not to take anything, agree to anything, and not speak to Fae if at all possible, a lesson they appeared to disregard in the patch. I didn’t see a way out of this, and lacking a specific direction to go in, I considered myself stepping back, and accompanying my companions on their way to deliver this package, Ma’at may or may not appreciate the subtlety of my position, but I felt I was following Cora’s guidelines and allowing them to act according to their natures, and to reap whatever they would.

We asked Fife about the brownies, as he was familiar with them, and might have different information from Lan, given there did not seem to be a significant Brownies presence where she came from, and he told us what he knew. Shortly thereafter, we came across a castle with spikes topped by pumpkins, either a sign of hostility or perhaps allegiance to a different faction. Rather than interact, we elected to move past, and were surprised when a giant pumpkin impacted the trees behind us. Osmun, who was at the reins, attempted to speed up the oxen, but was not as successful as we needed, and I quickly took over and managed to get them to accelerate and asked those with a free eye to check for additional projectiles to help me dodge if needed. Kellyn and Fife we able to destroy the next projectile, though it rained down pieces upon us, albeit doing little harm. When I thought we were out of range, I attempted to slow the oxen when a Brownie appeared and told me we would get hit if we continued, and we saw behind us 20 armed men on horseback. I quickly advised the Oxen to speed up again, and Osmun cast a spell which left a trail of pitch behind us, as the Brownie perched himself on the seat. In my excitement, I forgot myself and spoke, which Lan chided me for before taking over the conversation.

Lan translated her conversation with the Brownie, who told us of Locasta and her use of the merpeople for some unknown purpose, and then asked for my Espresso Moonshine. The Brownie tried some, and discovered it was an acquired taste, and I gave it the Cinnamon Moonshine I had been experimenting with, as I thought that to have a more pleasing flavor. In exchange for this, I was given a jeweled cup, and our travels continued. Through the use of the compass, I learned that the merpeople were being used as spell components of some fashion, and that Lan was likely to be taken if Locasta knew of her true nature.

Several days later, we encountered another boar, this time a green one. Having seen Fife kill one before, I expected it to be a quick battle, but somehow it was smart enough to fight tactically, and I rushed into the fight along with Tobias and Cora. Recognizing its size. I used the bronze spear which worked wonderfully against it, and it was soon slain. The mace I gave Tobias appeared to have some magical properties after all, as it caused a spot of silence after the impact, and I don’t think he was capable of causing a deafening just from his own strength. I contemplated butchering it for meat, but elected to listen to Amit when he indicated that this was a bad idea, although I did skin it, as the leather might make for excellent armor, and Tobias’ box, let along the cart means that taking it along was not an immediate issue. Before we left, I checked its stomach and discovered a partially digested brownies with jewelry which suggested a clan insignia. Rather than desecrate their dead, we burned the body as a sign of respect and began to leave, though not before several brownies appeared and began stabbing the boar corpse. We left them to their revenge and whatever story then elected to tell.

Several days later, we came to the tower, and saw a woman cast a net into the water, retrieving a merperson and taking them inside, and Lan entered the lake, though not shapechanging lest Locasta was watching, and came out a time later, telling us we needed to destroy the net. My first thought was to use my sword on it to disenchant it, but Fife wished to finish the delivery first. He knocked in the door, handed over the box, and then ate something, and then jumped into the lake. Lan went after him, and we waited for her return, hoping he would somehow survive his immersion.

We then felt an explosion of energy from the tower, and papers flew everywhere. I waited until they landed and slowly began to collect them, hoping my broach would protect from any foul effects they might cause. None occurred, and soon we had a large collection of papers which were given to Kellyn to study. Jaeger attempted some magic, but the only effect I noticed was a wall of mud which slowly sank into the ground. The papers that Kellyn examined appeared to relate to creating a potion of immortality and concerned the cup and table, one of the next quests we need to complete, for Kellyn’s sake, if not Tobias’, if not Jaeger’s, if not for the people in the area plagued by orcs.

Lan then came back and told us that Fife was now a merperson, and that we needed to find a way to reverse the transformation. Locasta then came out and cast the net again, and managed to catch Fife. Tobias was about o launch into an attack, when I asked him to take me over as well, as otherwise it would be two against whatever she was. I had been told of Tobais’ speed, but never experienced it for myself. He grabbed me by my neck and in less than a second we were in motion as a speed which almost blinded me with the power of the wind.

Fife stabbed her in the neck, just before I decapitated her, just before Tobias struck her severed head with a mace, sending it back toward our companions who had a woman with them, who picked up one of Fife’s knives, and ignored the sizzling sound it made when she grasped it. She spoke to Kellyn who cast a spell and a black hole in the ground appeared. Brownies walked over with the body of Locasta which was tossed into the hole, just before the head was dropped in. The woman then removed Fife from the net, said he would make a terrible frog, and then Kellyn used the wand to restore him to his human form. It did not work precisely, and he appeared more muscled and less proportioned than before, but other than that, I didn’t see a significant change. The woman looked at us all and then stepped into the hole. The Brownies thanked us for freeing them, advised use that if we were to let them know, the Gilken people would receive us with happiness, though they suggested we not mention the Pumpkin King. We could go to Yarp Castle and let them know we removed their Queen, though I don’t know if we have the time or need to do this.

Lan entered the lake to tell the Merpeople they would now be safe, and I made a mental note to ask her if there was anything useful in the lake, as the equipment of adventurers past might be of use to us. We made camp outside the tower, and are preparing to enter the tower to loot it. This seemed like an opportune time to try to create some Law, and I passed Cora a written down method of treasure distribution, so that we all received a fair share, remembering Tobias’ loss of his trident, his bemoaning the loss of a spear, and the way he had not seemed to receive any major treasure lately. She appeared dubious, as the idea was laudable, but she was uncertain at the execution and whether it would cause peace.

With any luck, we will find things in tower which will be of use to us, either as equipment or knowledge; Kellyn appears to be happy as she contemplates a potion of immortality and the resurrection of something called a Unicorn, which was a component of this spell.

the Lost City - Fife takes a swim
Thoughts from the point of view of Cora'sol "The Immortal"

cross posted from Cora’s Travel Journal


After reaching the gates of the ruins of the gnomish city, the party rested for a while, but then decided to travel on, ultimately heeding the warning that the two dwarves had given us. Fife expressed a curiosity about the city, and Shalev walked up to the great doors and knocked to see if they would open.

Jaeger, seeing Shalev’s action, muttered something in dwarfish, then walked away a short distance. He made motions as if he were casting something, and then pulled something out of a bag at his belt and rubbed it across his face. As he did so, he physically began to change appearance, shrinking down and shifting until he looked like a dwarf. I made note of this ability, and reminded myself with a silent warning that we still did not know much about this strange new party member.

There was no response to Shalev’s booming knocking, and so we continued to move north. Jaeger cast the spell that would speed up our travel, but this time something went awry and instead of moving more quickly, it simply removed our tracks from the road. I cast my Whispers of the Way spell once again, and realized as I listened to the odd language that the roads were speaking in the Fae language that I had heard Lan speak occasionally. I asked her if she would be willing to teach me how to speak her language, so that I could better understand, and she agreed. I tried to repeat to her the words that I heard the road mumbling, and was able to get a basic translation about people and pumpkins, though it did not make any sense to me. When I mentioned the word “pumpkin” Fife perked up and tried to enthusiastically explain that a pumpkin was some kind of edible gourd that was often a bright orange color. He said that they were quite delicious, and that if we ran across any we should gather them to add to our stores.

Shalev looked ahead and said that he saw some orange patches on the horizon. A short time later, we came to a patch of ground that was covered in prickly, curling vines with broad, heart shaped leaves, large yellow flowers, and rounded orange fruits. Fife pointed them out and said that these fruits were pumpkins, and that the ones that would be the most delicious would be the medium sized ones. The vibrant fruits were plentiful, some of them reaching as high as 18 feet tall, and the patch of vines stretched out for a good distance ahead of us so that we could not see the end of the garden. I picked one of the smaller ones, noting that it was a good bit heavier than I had expected it to be. I looked over to ask Fife a question about how to eat these, and I saw he and Shalev arguing about whether or not to pick more of the pumpkins to add to our supplies. I tossed the small pumpkin to Fife, forgetting for a moment that he was still affected by the curse. Thankfully, he caught the gourd without incident, and Shalev began muttering to himself darkly. He stalked away in a foul mood, grumbling about traps and hostile vegetables and being attacked in our sleep, and I wondered at his uncharacteristic reluctance to supplement our provisions.

Fife took a look at the pumpkin I had tossed to him and explained that the slightly larger ones would be better. He pointed out the correct sized ones, and he and I gathered several of them as he explained how to prepare the pumpkins to eat. After we had gathered a number of the pumpkins, I performed a general blessing on the pumpkin patch, as a way of thanking the plants for the rich harvest provided. I heard Shalev, still muttering grumpily, say something about checking to see if the gourds had mouths, and I saw Fife smirk suddenly and begin to carve a face into the pumpkin I had tossed to him earlier. I chided he and Osman about antagonizing Shalev any further, though I doubt they listened to my admonition, as they continued to chuckle and Fife put the carved pumpkin over his head like a helmet.

Shalev looked up then, and saw a similarly carved pumpkin resting on top of the largest gourd in the patch. He immediately pointed it out and began venting at us about knowing so and being more careful. Jaeger said something quietly in dwarven, and then the carved pumpkin head rose up, revealing the lanky body attached to it. It appeared to be some kind of golem, and it spoke then, saying that it.. his.. name was Jacque and that he was the Pumpkin King. Shalev instantly began to speak, but the pumpkin king shushed him, turning to Fife, who still wore the carved pumpkin on his head and asked if we had any decorated paper. Fife and I worked together to craft a design on some paper that we had, and then Jacque nodded approvingly and asked if we had a small box. Shalev handed him the empty cinnamon box, and again the pumpkin king voiced his approval, and asked if we could wrap it.

Jacque jumped down from the top of the tallest pumpkin without any effort whatsoever, and placed a lantern gently inside the box. He repeated his request to wrap the box in the decorated paper, and Fife did so. The pumpkin king then asked us to carry the gift through the pumpkin patch, past the castle with the shiny men, through the forest of the brownies, to the tower to give to the lady of the Tower who was named Locasta. Shalev asked about how to avoid the dragon, and Jacque responded with a negligent shrug and the statement that the dragon did not come over this direction because of the flying monkeys that lived in the cliffs nearby.

Shalev then began to question the gift we were asked to deliver, asking what it was, what it would do, and why we had to deliver it. I stepped up to him then and cautioned him quietly that it was not for us to question when we had already been tasked to make the delivery. He subsided then, but I could tel that he was still unhappy with the entire situation. Later on that evening after we had traveled through the pumpkin patch a good distance, we stopped and made a basic camp. Jaeger showed us a way to make a soup out of the pumpkins, using the gourds themselves as cooking vessels, and a way to roast the seeds over the fire to make a quick and delicious treat. I found the taste of the pumpkin to be unique and pleasurable, with an almost nut-like quality in taste, and I took a handful of the seeds that had been scooped out to add to my personal stash of plants that I had gathered from our travels. Fife and Osman huddled together in discussion over how to make a pumpkin beer, and I spent some time in meditation, once again casting a simple blessing over the patch. Shalev staunchly refused to try the strange meal, and I wondered again at his sudden reluctance regarding the orange gourds.

The following morning we traveled on, and after another week of uneventful travel, we finally came to an open area with a mesa off in the distance to the right, and a forest looming ahead of us. Following the instructions that Jacque had given us, we moved ahead to go through the forest. Fife began to tell us what lore he knew of brownies, and Lan and Osman both indicated that they could speak the Fae language. We ventured in a short distance, and came across a row of spikes along each side of the road with carved pumpkins impaled on them. As we ventured closer to the edge of the forest, the tree behind us suddenly exploded as a giant pumpkin struck it. We looked behind us and saw that it was lobbed from the castle on the mesa, and that another was headed our way. We scrambled to take cover in the trees, and Fife shouted to KelLyn to roast it. She cast her fire spell, and Fife threw a spear through the molten ball, hitting the pumpkin squarely and causing it to explode in a shower of flaming pumpkin bits. No one took any damage, thankfully, and we warily made our way further into the forest. There were no further attacks, and we saw several brownies in the trees ahead. When we started to slow down, one of the brownies spoke up to say that we would get hit if we did that. We looked behind us again to see 20 men on horseback galloping our direction. Shalev sped the cart back up again, and Osman began praying and casting his spell to create pitch.

He was able to successfully create about 5 barrels worth of the viscous liquid in a pool behind us, and we continue to move ahead. A brownie appeared on the cart between Lan and Shalev, and before Lan could greet the brownie, Shalev spoke up to ask it directly if it were hostile. The brownie looked very confused at the question, and Lan asked Shalev to refrain from asking the fae any other questions, lest he cause more trouble.

The first wave of knights reached the pool of pitch and slowed to a stop. KelLyn stood up in the cart then and motioned to Fife before casting a spell. Jaeger also stood up and did something that seemed to amp up the power of the spell KelLyn was casting. Fife threw a spear through the ball of white hot flame, and it hit the pitch which ignited with an explosion into a solid wall of flame. Fife then quipped sarcastically at the knights “see how YOU like having something big and orange thrown at you!”

Lan and the brownie chatter back and forth in the fae language, and Lan translates the conversation for the rest of the party, saying that the brownie was telling her about Lake Momboi to the east and the large spike of dirt to the north where the lady lives. The lady, Locasta, fishes there, but she does not eat the fish she catches. Lan speculated whether or not the “fish” were merpeople, and the brownie confirmed her suspicion. It went on to say that there were centaurs that lived in the colored forest, which was across the lake and past the glass forest, and if we kept going north we would run into the tall people that lived in the wall.The brownie confirmed also that everything here spoke the fairy language, except at the mountain and the university. The green city that we were looking for was where Omer lived.

Lan thanked the brownie for the information by giving it some of the espresso infused moonshine from the farmers. The brownie tasted the moonshine, and then makes a face, saying something to her in fae. She turned to Fife then and asked him to drink some as well to show the brownie that it was ok to drink. Fife happily agreed, downing a shot of the potent liquor without flinching. The brownie followed his lead and then sits down as the moonshine makes his face go pleasantly numb. Shalev handed over some of the cinnamon infused moonshine to give to the brownie, and the brownie gave him an emerald encrusted platinum goblet in return. Then the brownie took the bottle of moonshine, and jumped out of the cart to go show the new drink to the others.

We continued traveling through the forest without any additional incident. Shalev asked a constant stream of questions to his compass, and among those questions were contemplation on whether or not the woman Locasta would attack Lan outright or try to capture her if it were discovered that she were fae. The compass replied in an affirmative to those questions, and Shalev continued to try to find out more about what we faced. Jaeger spent some time using one of his spells to sharpen Fife’s spears, and he agreed to sharpen the rest of the party weapons as well. After about a week of travel we have no further sign of brownies or knights. The trees here in the part of the forest were maple, and we saw Jaeger chewing on some of the bark. He offered us a piece of a green limb, and we discovered that the bark had a slightly sweet flavor. I took one of the green limbs to examine further.

A few days later, as we are traveling along, Fife suddenly grabbed a spear and jumped down ahead of the cart just as a boar came charging out of the woods in front of him. He had heard the animal crashing through the brush, and leapt at the chance to do what he does best. He threw two spears in quick succession, and then set a third one in the ground where he braced it with his foot for impact. The bright green boar charged but then it stopped right before it would have impaled itself on the spear, which caused Fife to look in confusion. The boar opened its mouth and breathed sparkles at Fife, who managed to leap out of the way.

Tobias ran at the boar wielding both of his maces. I used the dragon bone bow to aim straight for the boar’s gaping mouth. Fife also aimed a spear for it’s mouth, and we both hit successfully causing some serious damage. Fife’s spear caught fire, and the flames wounded Fife slightly. Shalev then hit the boar with the bronze spear, and he also caused noticeable damage. Tobias struck the animal with both of his maces, and the beast finally went down, though with a strange effect of deadening all sound within a 15 foot radius. KelLyn walked up and broke off a piece of the tusk of the boar which she had concentrated it’s essence down into. Shalev and Fife carved up the boar, and we discover that it was not just the skin of the animal that was oddly colored, but the whole carcass. Amit refused to eat the oddly hued meat, and I agreed. Shalev asked Fife for the hide of the animal, and Jaeger asked for the skin of the head. A search of the guts of the animal revealed the corpse of an unfortunate brownie, a silver ring and a silver brooch, both with a sapphire bar across each, 4 gold pieces, and a silver filigree necklace. Lan said that the ring and the brooch were likely a clan notification and recommended that they be left with the corpse of brownie and the boar.

Three brownies with capes and brooches that matched those we had discovered ran up then and started viciously stabbing the boar, claiming the kill and taking revenge on the beast that had apparently eaten their companion. We wisely left them to their vengeance and continued on with our journey. Shortly after that, we saw a huge tower made of stacked granite, with a lake off to the right. Around the tower, there were smaller brightly colored buildings and wheat fields. As we approached the tower, we saw a woman open a door at the bast of the structure. She stepped out to the lake, and threw a huge silver net into the water. When she drew the net back in, she had captured a merman which fought being taken out of the water fiercely.. She drug the captured being inside the tower, closing the door behind her. Lan jumped into the water then to speak to the merfolk that were cowering further down in the lake. After a few moments, she emerged from the water saying that we needed to destroy that net. Fife told the party to wait where we were, and taking the package that the pumpkin king had given him to deliver, walked up to the door and knocked.

The woman answered the door and spoke to Fife briefly. He handed her the box, and she handed him something that looked like a cookie or pastry in return. He turns back to the party and takes a bite of the cookie, but instead of returning to where we waited, he walked to the edge of the stairs and jumped into the lake. Lan immediately jumped in after him, but could not find him. She searched for several moments, and after making several dives, finally finds Fife under the water. He had been transformed into one of the merfolk.

As we were waiting for Lan’s return, and worrying about Fife, we heard an explosion from the top of the tower, and looked up to see the windows all fly open and papers float everywhere. Wave after wave of magical energy comes out of the tower, and we all scrabble for cover. Jaeger attempted to create a wall of protection out of earth, but it turned back into mud almost immediately and sank back into the ground.

Lan came back up then, and informed us what had happened to Fife. She handed us his belongings and asked us to put it on the cart to keep safe until we could figure out how to reverse the transformation. We told her about the explosion, and some of the papers float down close enough to grab. We hand them to KelLyn as we pick them out of the air and off of the ground, and she notes with some great interest that these are scrolls and potion recipes. She asks Tobias to help her gather as many of the notes and pages as we can, and put them into a box. One of the papers had an odd symbol and something about a cup and a table written on it, as well as a potion recipe for a potion of immortality. Tobias and KelLyn grew very excited about this information and told the rest of the party about the orcs and how this tied the regenerating orcs into the quest to heal Grand Tier and eliminate the regenerating orcs that KelLyn had been geased to complete.

The door at the base of the tower opened then, and the woman emerged looking rather worse for wear, with smoke pouring out of the tower behind her and wisping off her her robes and hair as if she had been at the center of the blast. She threw the silver net into the water once again, and when she drew it out, she had Fife entangled. She exclained “Oh, you’re the new one!” to which Fife angrily replied that he was indeed, before he stabbed her twice with the poisoned assassin’s daggers that he carried with him. She grabbed at the net and started to chant, but the poison was taking quick effect, making her breathing labored, and her speech slow and slurred.

Tobias took off running, carrying Shalev with him to go attack the woman and attempt to rescue Fife from the net. Lan and Osman began working together to summon a Fairy, forgetting possibly, or perhaps counting on the fact that they stood in the center of one of the largest fairy rings anyone had ever seen. The moment they finished their summons, every mushroom in the grove began glowing brightly. The enormous ring glowed and pulsed with the rhythm of footsteps, and a wave of silver appears. A woman with otherworldly beauty steps out of the gleaming wave and looks at Lan. She asks in quiet tones if we had found her net, and Lan, with a moment of inspiration, exclaims “Yes!” and points directly at the woman from the tower who held the silver net in her hands. The fairy woman’s eyes narrowed dangerously, and she prowled forward will the indisputable inevitability of all of the force of nature moving behind her. Each footprint she left in the ground smoldered, and she made her way over to where the woman and Fife still struggled. The rest of the party followed mutely in her wake, thinking it best not to interfere in any way unless direly necessary.

Tobias and Shalev had also engaged in the fight with the woman, and their strikes hit the same time that Fife stabbed her through the lower jaw, effectively pinning her mouth shut. Shalev’s unerring strike took the woman’s head clean off her shoulders and Tobias’ strike knocked it flying to land at the angry fairy woman’s feet. The silver woman picked up the head by the hilt of the iron knife impaling it, completely ignoring the searing effect that the iron had on her hand. She looked calmly at the woman, who we realized with some trepidation was still living, saying “No one steals from me and gets away with it. Besides, men should be frogs, not fish, and you are NOT dead. Yet.” She then looked directly at KelLyn and asked “Who among you knows how to open doorways?” KelLyn, wide-eyed, quietly asks for her book, and Jaeger agrees to help her with her spell. They work together to craft a circle of power, and KelLyn asks the silver woman where she needs the door to open. The silver woman bends down and whispers something that only KelLyn can hear. A black hole opens up in the ground. The brownies who had been trapped inside the tower appeared then, and picked up the body on the ground, bringing it to the silver woman. Both the head and the body were dropped into the hole, and the brownies bowed and vanished.

The silver woman then dumped Fife out of the net, untangling him from the strands, and looks at him for a moment before saying that he would make a terrible frog. KelLyn pulls out one of her wands and casts a polymorph spell to bring Fife back to his human form, and the silver woman looks at each of the party in silent contemplation before stepping into the black hole which snapped closed behind her. The brownies reappeared then, and spent several moments thanking us for freeing them. They inform us that “once we let them know, the Gilken people will receive you with happiness. Go to Youp castle and let them know that we have removed their queen.” Then they vanish again, and we all look at each other with bemused expressions, deciding that it would probably be best not to mention the pumpkin king directly.

Lan stepped into the lake again and told the merpeople that they no longer had anything to fear from the woman in the tower, and told them what had happened. KelLyn went back to studying the sheafs of paper that we had gathered from the earlier blowout of the tower, and suddenly sat down with an exclamation. She muttered something about “undoing” and starts to rustle through the papers quickly to try to find more about whatever had made her so excited. Shalev approached her then and asked if she wanted to look into the tower, and she looked up with a happy expression and a ready agreement.

We checked Fife over thoroughly, and he seemed none the worse for wear for his time as a merman. His minor wounds had been healed, and other than being cold and wet and grumpy, was otherwise unharmed. Shalev asked if Lan would be willing to check the lake to see if there were any other belongings that had been left behind by the poor souls that had been transformed into merfolk. She agreed to the search, and we made camp there outside the tower.

Shalev after a moment of writing by the fire, handed me a piece of paper with a recommendation for distribution rights to the treasure, in an attempt to head off any potential arguments about what we discover inside the tower. I agree with his reasoning, but have some doubt as to whether or not it will prevent arguments or cause them. I must admit to being slightly disappointed thus far with our discoveries. This whole place has been more magical in nature, and I am beginning to wonder if there is anything druidic at all in this forgotten place.

As I meditated on these things, KelLyn studied, Jaeger studied, Osman prayed, Fife enjoyed being human again, Tobias sat in watchful guard, Shalev and Amit sat together and we all made our preparations to explore inside, for who knows what traps… or treasures.. we may find within.

Wedding gifts and an odd bachelor party
Never underestimate the value of manners

The man who comes back from the desert will never be quite the same as the man who went out. He will be wiser but less cocksure, happier but less self-satisfied, humbler in acknowledging his ignorance yet better equipped to understand the relationship of words to things, of systematic reasoning to the unfathomable Mystery which it tries, forever vainly, to comprehend.

I’ve left the desert, and am still traveling, have acknowledged to myself I am flawed, am seeking to correct these flaws, and explore the world to broaden my knowledge. I am a Noble, and to me that means more is expected from me, in balance of my opportunities and advantages growing up. Jaegar is new to our party, and as Cora’sol Tyrtlarn guided me, I am attempting to guide him to safety. A skilled mage, he has suffered great loss at the hands of the regenerating orcs, and may not be as stable as I had thought.

We arrived at the forest and Cora scouted ahead, but lost her way, proving navigation might be difficult. We formed a chain, at my assistance, tied together so that we could avoid being separated, which Cora tolerated with patience. She and Tobias scouted ahead, quickly going out of sight, and the rest of us followed until Sunset, after which I wanted to stop and rest. The rope kept going and when I attempted to tie it to the cart, it slipped away from me. Through the efforts of Amit and Kellyn, we were not dragged away, but after a point, I elected to cut the rope as either Cora and Tobias were fine, or they weren’t. They’re skilled enough that they should be able to either outfight or outrun anything which might attack them, although Fife refused to release the rope, and was quickly dragged off.

We decided to rest for the night, and leave the forest in the morning, as once we were out, it should be easier to locate each other. After judging which was North was, we headed in the opposite direction which I hoped would eventually take us out of the forest. Jaeger, fortunately, began to mark the trees as we passed, which drew the attention of a giant, who asked him to stop. I politely explained to the giant that we had lost our druid, and asked him for help. He lifted us out and placed us outside the forest, which he called a garden, and then returned Cora, Fife, and Tobias to us. When he remarked on the eclectic nature of our group, I claimed to be on a last jaunt before getting married, and was then gifted with an earring which he said would aid my vitality, and then given a blessing which I suspect will affect my fertility. Upon asking if there was anything we could do for him, he mentioned he had lost his fork, which he described as a large trident. Tobias graciously gave up his trident, and was rewarded with a large box, which we later learned was significantly larger on the inside than the outside.

Some time later,Jaegar asked about seeing Kellyn’s staff, which I relayed to her, pointing out that he might have magical skills to trade to her. She then began to pray to Leilana, in order to learn Orcish to allow for better communication. Leilana then appeared. I then erroneously informed Jaeger of this, while attempting to stand between him and the goddess, lest he do something foolish, even as I ordered Amit to get Lan guard Lan. Jaegar then demonstrated that he was significantly better in unarmed combat than I and attempted to cast a spell. I don’t know the intended effect, but the effect I saw happen was a ring of trees. Leilana and Kellyn argued before Kellyn was given a geas to deal with the healing orcs. Given Leilana was a party companion, I asked if she would restore Crawlsargot to us, and was told that doing so would put me in her service, which I graciously declined. I did ask Kellyn if she would make such a request and she refused, and then the conversation became more heated, resulting in Kellyn losing a portion of her magic.

Leilana declined to give us a time frame on the geas, so at any moment, we may need to drop everything and deal with those orcs, even as we also need to find a way to heal Gran’tir, who still lives. This troubles me, because I am uncertain if his healing would disturb the balance, and if so, what Ma’at would have me do. It’s possible that the effort we go through to save him may pay that balance, but I don’t know for sure, and must consult with her to see how she would have me proceed.

At this point, Leilana used a magic I had previously felt, but was able to resist this time, Share the Love. Amit, Lan, and I were the only ones unaffected, and while Fife and Osmun tossed knives, Cora and Tobias spent some quality time together, Jaegar and Kellyn began to discuss magic, which caused trees were turned into deep metal, and I quickly offered them drugged food and water to limit the damage.

I prayed to Ma’at to see if she would return Crawlsargot to me, and she stated it was a quest. Having received a clear and direct answer, I’m now thinking of how to deal with it. The first step is to find cities in the general south east of the Oasis, of significant size and distance, to see where we might need to make port, and then to use the compass to determine which might be close enough to use as a base of operations to find after which we may either make our way back or just use the transportation staff. It’s an imperfect solution, but it’s a start, and when I speak to the Princess next, perhaps she may be able to provide some wisdom or guidance about how to proceed.

After reaching the ruins of the Gnomes’ city, the gates are broken and there was nothing left. We thus determined that it was not worth searching for a way in, given the forges were said to be cold, the inhabitants likely hostile to us, and the Compass advised that we did not need to visit all four cities before entering the city in the center. We’re making our way around the first Dwarven city again, before we make a final push. I’m uncertain of the road ahead, but will do my best to keep us all alive.

The Search of the Lost City - Ishmael's Farewell
Thoughts from the point of view of Cora'sol "The Immortal"

cross posted from Cora’s Travel Journal

Aa’ lasser en lle coia orn n’ omenta gurtha.

(May the leaves of your life tree never turn brown.)


We stayed with the dwarfs helping them around their city as we could for a few more weeks, and then made our preparations to depart towards the enchanted forest and the home of the Crescent Witch. I found out that the Crescent Witch was rumored to live about 5 miles around towards the enchanted forest, so that is the direction that I recommended we travel once we decided to head out. As the Summer Solstice was near, I also spent some time in meditation and ritual for the sacred space. During those meditations, I asked my god and goddess what I should know about the dragon that we faced. A young dwarf child wandered over to me and sat down beside me. She played with her little doll and began speaking to me about the boogeyman. She showed me her doll and told me that the boogeyman had yellow eyes and walked around wearing a green robe. She said she was afraid of the boogeyman, and asked if I were going to get rid of him.

I reassured her that we were going to do our best to get rid of the boogeyman, and she nodded once and then continued to chatter and play beside me for a time. It was only after she had wandered away again that I realized that I should not have been able to talk with her at all, since I do not speak any form of the dwarven language. I ruminated on what I had been told, and later on that evening shared the knowledge that I had been given with the rest of the party.

Osman spent some time praying to his god as well, in a supplication for more living animals to leave with the dwarfs here. His god answered him and another goat appeared. The one he had previously called forth wandered over to him to greet it’s companion, and then suddenly went into labor, delivering 12 healthy kids, much to the amazement of any who witnessed the births.

Shalev also prayed, and was also gifted with a new spell. His goddess granted him the ability to see the measure of a soul. He told me later on over our afternoon tea that it was his hope to be able to use this ability to help Fife with his curse. He asked if he could try the spell out on me, and I agreed, though I warned him that because of my long life, and because I was an elf, he might not be able to get a read on me as he would a human.

On a whim, Shalev donned his white dragon armor, and discovered that it would allow him some additional perceptions. He was able to clearly see the dragon flying overhead in the distance, and discovered that the dragon always flew in a counter-clockwise pattern. As we were planning to head to the forest, that would mean that we traveled opposite the dragon’s flight path, and would also mean that we would perhaps have some extra time before having to deal with the dragon face to face.

Hearing that bit of information, Lan looked closer at the giant mushrooms that grew along the edge of the bowl shaped valley. After a few moments of examination, she told the party that the entire valley was one gigantic fairy ring, with the mushrooms acting as a border. She also said that the dragon was of fairy origins, and was likely trapped inside.

As we were packing our things, Ishmael approached the party solemnly. He told us that he wished to retire here and make a life and a home as the Forgemaster, as the dwarfs currently did not have someone to act in such a capacity, and he felt like this place had been waiting for him to arrive. The dwarfs accepted his request to stay with much enthusiasm, and agreed to help him set up a house near the great forges.

The party accepted his decision with some sadness, and that evening we held a feast in his honor, toasting his accomplishments, and giving what blessings we could for him. He gave us three of the water skins filled with the restorative waters from Martek’s tomb. He also requested to keep the layan chain mail rings that Lan had, in order to try to find a way to craft them into something, and she agreed to let him have them. Ishmael offered to watch over the bulk of our supplies and belongings so that we could travel minimally encumbered, and we agreed, consolidating the necessities down to a single cart and our individual packs.

The following morning we set out, and it felt strange to leave Ishmael behind. I am sure that he will be happy there, surrounded by accoutrements of his faith. I hope that he lives long and his fires never die out. I cast my Whispers of the Way spell to see what the road ahead might tell me, in hopes that I can continue to refine my understanding of the spell, and also in hope that it might give us a fraction of a warning of potential fores. Travel was somewhat subdued, but after about a day we managed to make our way over to the Crescent Witch’s house without incident. The house was actually a massive tree, stretching nearly 50 feet across and 250 feet high. Awestruck by the giant, I touched the bark to feel it humming with life. I could also feel some kind of enchantment, but could not discern what it might be. The door to the dwelling was 12 feet tall, and located in the center of the trunk. I looked back at the part members to see that they were nearby, and then knocked on the door. I glanced at the window near the door to see an orc peeking through the window at me. He opened the door and asked something in an odd gutteral language.

Seeing that none of us understood what he asked, he repeated the question in a language that sounded much like the one that I had heard the dwarfs speak in the city. When Shalev stepped forward and answered the orc in the same language, it confirmed to me that it was indeed dwarven, as I knew that he had been studying it fervently while we were staying with the dwarfs.With Shalev acting as translator, we found out that the orc was asking if we wanted to come inside and eat. He seemed desperate for an answer, which made us all extremely wary of the circumstances. Fife, not understanding the language, and seeing the orc in front of Shalev, reacted as a trained bodyguard would, and leapt in front of Shalev to try to tackle him out of harm’s way.

Or that’s what he would have done, had he not still been affected by the bad luck curse. Instead of tackling Shalev out of the way, he lunged off to the far left of the tree and fell to the ground, landing on his face. Thankfully the fall did not do any damage to him, and as he lay there for a moment to catch his breath, Lan peered around Shalev and noticed that there were brownies working frantically inside the tree. She warned us all in the party common language not to accept any offer from anyone, and to let her do all of the talking for the time being. She then turned to the diminutive fae inside the tree and began speaking to them in their own musical language.

As they conversed, I notice that the orc tried again to convince us to come inside and have something to eat, and when we again ignored his request, he attempted to intimidate Shalev into doing what he wanted. Shalev looked at him once, and then shrugged off the glare as if it were nothing, turning to the side to look more directly at Lan. The orc seemed taken aback by the casual dismissal and visibly slumped a little, finally resigned to the fact that we would not cross the threshold of the house, nor eat anything he offered.

While Lan continued to converse with the brownies, I helped Tobias move the cart off to the relative cover of the giant mushrooms growing nearby. We disguised the cart as we had been practicing, and once that was done, we set up a basic camp. After another few moments of rapid dialogue between them, Lan turned to us and said that the brownies had been cursed to work for 10 years making baked goods that were addicting to consume. If anyone ate one, they would immediately crave more and more, and if they could not pay for what they consumed, they became indentured to work along side the brownies in servitude. She then turned to KelLyn and asked her to confirm the nature of the geas on the fae, and she verified that it was a spell that had been cast by a secular druid, but that the power level was impossible to overcome in it’s current state.

I made a note here of the power levels that I had seen before, with the ever-growing grass, and wondered at just how much the crescent witch had done to the balance of this place in her efforts to make things as she saw fit. I also began to see why the secular druids were seen as a menace, and contemplated further discussion with my god and goddess about the differences between secular and sacred. Those prayers would be for another day, however, as my mental reverie was broken when I heard Shalev began speaking once again in the rumbling dwarven language. He asked the orc at the nature of his debt to the fae, and then handed him 9 gold pieces, declaring in dwarf and then again in common, that his debt was paid. The orc cheered and promptly handed the gold to the brownies before stepping out of the house with an audible sigh of relief. He told Shalev that we could call him Jaeger, and Shalev offered him a space in our camp, should he wish to travel with us for a time. He accepted, and the rest of the party warily welcomed him to the group.

I cautioned Shalev to be wary, and to remember that none of the rest of the party could understand their conversations. Just because Jaeger seemed friendly at the moment, did not mean that he could be trusted immediately. Shalev noted my concerns, but I know that he is instinctively trusting, and expects others to be the same way. Time will tell with Jaeger.

During the third watch that evening, Osman encountered two ragged looking dwarfs coming from the direction of the gnomish city of Ehru in Damazen. They were wearily making their way towards the dwarven city in Quadling, and seemed surprised when Osman called out to them. They drew weapons, not understanding, and Osman called out to Shalev who then woke Amit and I. The three of us went out to greet the weary travelers, and seeing that they were sore in need of some rest and some healing, we escorted them back to camp where we offered them bread and salt, a meal, and what healing we could provide. They gratefully accepted the offer and as we tended to them, the apparent leader of the two spoke to us. He told us that they had come from the war, and that they were all that remained of the forces that had been sent out.

He went on to say that they had been fighting against the Ros Babans, and that the city had fallen. The forges were cold and closed, and the outer walls had been destroyed. I hear Tobias curse under his breath, and remembered hearing about the Ros Babans in descriptions of some of his previous adventures. While the dwarf spoke, Lan worked at healing him and his companion, and she asked him about the fairy ring and the history of the valley we were in. He told us that the fairy ring had been here for 400 years or more, and that the dragon had been here long before that. The dragon arrived shortly after the death of Savoyez – the duke of the central city who had tried to keep everything running after the second wizard of Emer, Liamond, had blown everything up. Liamond was Deuxson’s grandson, and had been known to meddle with magic that was beyond his capability to control. His greatest desire was in striving to revive ancient orders, and at that statement, I heard KelLyn snort softly under her breath. He had been attempting to craft an artifact when the power went out of control and exploded, causing all of the walls of the city to shatter. In order to contain the energy, he summoned a great one over the well in the center of the city, and the great one surrounded the city making it a sacred space.

After they had been healed, fed, and moderately rested, the two dwarfs said that they would take their leave and continue toward the city in Quadling. We told them about Ishmael and they seemed surprised that the city once again boasted a Forge singer, saying that they were keen indeed to meet the newcomer. We wished them well, and they departed to complete their journey. We continued on as well, at first light.

Seeing that we were making slow and uneven progress on the remains of the path, Jaeger stood on the cart and made hand motions as if he were casting a spell. Shalev quickly reassured us that he was not attacking but was attempting to help move things at a more efficient pace. KelLyn looked on in amused disbelief, saying something about watching an orc try magic being good for a laugh. She swallowed her words quickly, however, when after a moment, the ground beneath the cart rose up in a gentle swell, and our rate of travel noticeably improved.

With Jaeger’s aid to our travel, it only took us another day to reach the edge of the enchanted forest. I recommended that we make camp here, and I offered to scout ahead into the forest. The trees here were unusual in their enormity, and I had never seen anything like them in all of my years. The outer ring of trees had bark that peeled away like paper. I got an overwhelming sense of enchantment here, and the moment I stepped foot into the shadowed depths of the trees, my skin began to prickle as if a thousand ants were crawling over me. It was not painful, but it gave me an urgent sense of warning about this place that I heeded warily. There were wide avenues between the strange trees, but aside from those I could see no path. I noted that the second layer of trees was different than the first, with shredded brown bark. The ground here chattered away at me, but I noticed with some interest that it was in a language that I did not understand. I decided then to make my way back to the camp, lest Shalev and Tobias grow concerned by a longer absence. Distance was not what it appeared to be here in this place, and when I finally emerged from the odd forest, I found myself 300 feet away from where I had originally entered the grove. I made my way back over to the party and told them about what I had observed.

Once I was safely back with the party, I decided to cast my druidic power out in an attempt to call the keepers, but it seemed to have no effect. KelLyn offered to cast her Nature of Things spell to tell me what she could find out about the forest. After a moment or two of concentration, she informed me that the forest here had a massive Create/Modify Spirits and Demons enchantment over it. I tried again to sense where the keepers might be, but once again only got the general sense that the lived here.

Shalev insisted that if we were going to go into the forest, that we should all be tied together, and immediately began working to secure everything and everyone with rope. Tobias and I took point and gave ourselves an extra measure of rope so that we could continue to scout ahead. The ground here was still chattering away in that odd language, so I paid it no additional heed. We scouted ahead about 100 feet or so, and I noticed that each layer of trees was different than the one before. None of the trees were familar to me at all, and when I used my druidic powers to try to tell me what they were, I got very strong sense that I should actually taste the tree in front of me. Confused and extremely wary about this, I tried perceive again, and again got the sense of “taste and see.” So I stepped up and tasted the tree.. only to discover that it was not a tree at all, but rather an enormous stalk of celery. The entire forest was actually a vegetable garden of gigantic proportions.

Alarmed at the realization and what it might mean, I quickly found Tobias and told him that we needed to find the rest of the party. We followed the rope only to find that it had been chewed through by a white deer. It bounded off gracefully, and Tobias tried to go after it, but the rope that tied him to me prevented it. We knew then that the rest of the party had been separated, and we began making our way back the way we came. We heard a crashing sound, and saw a 9 ft tall white rabbit with a rope tied around its neck come stumbling into the area where we were. Fife was holding on to the other end of the rope, wide eyed, and Tobias shouted at him to let go of the rope. Seeing us there, he tried, but ended up falling into the trunk of the celery stalk and getting stuck. Tobias climbed up and managed to cut him out successfully, and Fife was not injured, though he said that he could not feel his arm at all. I took a look at him, and could see no injuries at all, but his entire arm was completely relaxed and numb. We gave him some water to try to wash the sap off, and I took a closer look at the excretions from the celery stalk. I could not discern anything specific about it, however, but bottled a small amount of it for later study, making a note of it’s apparent numbing properties and being careful not to touch any of it myself. I said a quick prayer to my god and goddess to ask them if there was a specific way to call to the keepers, and they answere me telling me that the keepers can be called by doing something exceptionally good, or exceptionally bad.

I tired to use my ability to destroy plants to create a safe path for us out of the garden, but the grass immediately grew back in. I noticed that the trunk of the celery stalk where Fife had landed had not repaired itself, and so I decided to try to heal it as a way to draw the keepers attention. I created a spell that allowed me to heal the plant successfully, at least partially, and with that done, we decided to make a basic camp here and try again to make our way back to the party after some rest. As we settled in, I performed a ritualized blessing of the garden area in general. As soon as I had completed the prayer, I felt a minor earthquake, but could not discern the source or reason.

During first watch that evening, Fife fell asleep briefly and woke up to see a large white boar staring at him. It headbutted him unconscious and he woke up later screaming about a large pig. During second watch, Tobias encountered a group of very large birds. They were completely silent, and had no heat signature at all, and after watching for a moment flew away on soundless wings. On my watch, the birds returned and perched on one of the giant vegetables. I greeted the bird, but got no response at all. As we broke our camp the following morning, I felt another earhquake, and then suddenly we were all picked up off of the ground by a tangle of green vines. It felt like we were flying in the air, and then at the apex of whatever had lifted us, I looked down to see the enormous hedge maze of vegetables stretching off in the distance. Then it felt like we were falling, but being gently held by whatever this tangle of vines was. We were set gently on the ground next to the rest of our party, and I realized that a giant green man had picked us up out of his garden like weeds.

I looked up at him in wonder, for I had never seen such a being before, and I heard him tell Shalev that he had a strange association. I realized then that Shalev must have encountered the giant and asked him to retrieve Tobias, Fife, and myself from the gardens. Shalev responded to the giant that he was on a last adventure before going home to get married. The giant then asked him to wait a moment, then walked away, returning a few moments later with a pouch which he handed to Shalev. The pouch contained a green gemstone earring which was described by the giant as being able to strengthen his personal resolve. He gifted the earring to Shalev as a wedding present, and then blessed him directly with fertility. Shalev thanked the giant for the gift and the blessing, then asked him if he would like any additional plats for his garden. The giant accepted one of the strawberry plants that I had been cultivating, and I asked if there was anything that he needed. The giant replied that he had lost his fork some time ago, and went on to describe a trident like object. Tobias offered him the trident that he had taken from Sacatha’s tomb, and the giant accepted it gratefully, giving Tobias a large box in return. I asked him if he could tell me anything about the druids that had been here once, and he said that while there used to be druids here, he had not seen any in a long time. He then bade us farewell, and walked away with the minor earthquake following his every step.

I was disappointed that he was not able to tell me more, but resolved to continue my hunt for more information about this place. We gathered our things, and started traveling once again. The orc made that same motion with his hands, and the spell that he used before started up again, making our travel much easier and faster. After a while, we stopped to camp, and covered the things per Shalev’s request. He asked KelLyn to take a look at the earring, and she said that it had a powerful protection spell for vitality on it. He asked about how it was worn, and she offered to pierce his ear. He agreed to let her, and she did so quickly, placing the earring in the lower lobe of his right ear. I did a minor healing spell on the wound to prevent infection once the earring was in place, and taught him how to care for it until it completely healed.

Shalev asked Jaeger if he knew of any enhancements to the senses, and Jaeger did something which improved Shalev’s eyesight for a time. Watches all happened thankfully without incident, and we continued to make our way aorund the forest. Shalev, acting as a translator between KelLyn and Jaeger, asked KelLyn if Jaeger could look at the staff pieces that she carried with her. KelLyn, suddenly realizing that her goddess was the goddess of orcs, said a prayer to Leilanna in hopes that she would be able to learn how to speak orc, and be able to communicate directly with Jaeger.

Leilanna actually manifested in front of KelLyn, and said quite sternly that she was very cross with KelLyn about things. They got into an argument with one another, and as a result, KelLyn’s request to learn orcish was granted, but her magic was partially blocked for a time, and she was geased into killing the orcs that are doing bad things in Leilanna’s name. As they argued with one another, I saw Tobias make a rude gesture at Leilanna, and wondered at why he would dare such a thing. I then looked over and saw Shalev step in front of Jaeger, and say something in dwarvish. I heard Leilanna’s name, and Jaeger suddenly lunged forward to attack Shalev. Amit immediately picked Lan’s body up, as she had fallen over dead when Leilanna manifested, and moved her over to the cover of the first row of trees.. onions.. in the garden to protect her. Shalev tried to stop Jaeger, but ended up being knocked over. Jaeger tried again to attack, this time by beginning to cast something, and Fife threw a spear to stop him. It bounced harmlessly off of the base of Jaeger’s neck, and Osman also tried to shoot the orc in the foot. His arrow also bounced off, and Shalev managed to move out of the way and over toward Amit and Lan.

Jaeger’s spell completed, and suddenly 22 oak trees sprang up in a circle 100 feet across. They grew up 84 feet tall, some of them emerging in the middle of the giant’s vegetable garden. Leilanna and KelLyn continued to argue with one another and Jaeger moved to attack again, but suddenly stopped when he realized that they were speaking in a language that he could now understand. Leilanna tuned then to the orc, and cast something over the entire party, saying that we all needed to just chill out and relax. Then she disappeared, and Lan woke back up, seemingly unaware of what had just occurred.

Shalev, Amit, and Lan appeared to be unaffected by the spell, but the rest of the party was in an almost drugged state of euphoria. KelLyn and Jaeger seemed to be best friends now, and were chatting back and forth in orcish. She cast her spell that allowed her to talk through fires, and the trees all fell towards one another, crashing together and igniting into one giant bonfire. An orcs face appeared in the flames, spoke to KelLyn briefly, and then disappeared. Jaeger looked awestruck by what he had seen, and he and KelLyn then started reading books to each other. KelLyn read her book of Fyrewerian to Jaeger, and as she read, the stumps of the trees turned into deep metal and sank into the ground. Realizing the dangers of having two apparently drunk mages reading from a magic book, Shalev handed them both a drink that he had spiked with the powerful sleeping potion he had picked up several months ago. They both slumped over in a deep sleep, and Tobias and I decided to separate ourselves from the party and spent some rare time alone together.

The next morning we woke up still feeling the effects of the spell that Leilanna had cast, though not as strongly as before. We broke camp, and moved out toward the ruins of the gnomish city. Another two weeks of travel passed uneventfully before we were finally able to make our way around the edge of the vegetables and back to the ring of mushrooms on the outer edge. As we made camp that evening, we examined the box that the giant had given to Tobias. It was unassuming on the outside, being only about 2 ft across. When we opened it up, however, we saw two metal rings with a rope ladder strung between them leading down into a 10 × 10 × 10 room. Only Fife and Tobias were able to fit through, and they climbed down inside to see that it was a large, empty space. They asked us to try moving the box, and we could do so easily. There was no change in weight or mobility, and we all instantly realized the benefits to having such a container with us. After a brief discussion, we moved the box up onto the cart, and then transferred all of our most valued things down into the room for safe keeping.

Shalev took the time to ask KelLyn to look again at the piece of paper that I had snagged from the lizard king’s temple for some reason. She agreed to do so, and confirmed that it was most likely the name of the demon that she had imprisoned in the gem. She pocketed the piece of paper again, and went back to studying her magic. A moment later, she looked up with a huge smile on her face and said “that’s it! I know them all now!” and suddenly a raven appeared in front of her to squawk “We are watching you arch-mage. The council of Fyrewerians does not appreciate your presence on this contin…” but it did not finish the declaration, as Amit pounced on it at ate it whole almost as soon as it had appeared. He swallowed the mouthful of bird, then spat out feathers in distaste and looked plaintively over at Osman who laughed and created some goat meat for him instead.

We continued to travel, and we observed the large birds we had seen in the gardens flying in groups of 10. They would fly into the mountains, and then fly back, carrying animals of various kinds which they would haul over towards the broken city of Emer. When they left the city, they did not carry the animals with them, and we speculated that they were bringing food for the dragon. I made a mental note then, of the white animals that had watched us in the gardens, and thought that this was probably how the dragon always seemed to know where people were on the roads.

After a few more days of travel, we finally reached a huge stone gate much like the pass through the mountains at the dwarf city. There was no city here, however, only large carved figures and battlements. The entrance was completely sealed off, and the statues were wearing battered gold crowns that looked like they had been chewed on and clawed at in an attempt to remove them.

We paused here, and found some cover to make camp while we discussed whether or not to attempt to go into the gnomish city. We recalled what the two dwarfs had told us about the Ros Babans, and the constant battle that was waged behind those doors. After much discussion we decided that it was not worth trying to break through the doors, and that we would continue on around the circle of the valley in the morning.


So KelLyn is an arch-mage now. She seems quite pleased with herself, and as powerful as she is, I have no doubt that this will only fuel her desires for knowledge. I still do not trust Jaeger yet, though he seems to have mellowed out considerably. Having another competent magic user in the party has definitely been useful, though I can not overlook the apparently causeless attack on Shalev, depsite Shalev’s reassurance that no harm was done. I am still wary.

The dragon knows we are here, and knows that we are coming. It would be foolish to assume otherwise. It is possible that the dragon simply longs to return to the fairy realms, though I do not begin to think that it would be that simple.

I am no closer to discovering anything about the druids who were here before, but the more I learn about them, the less I am liking what I hear. Either they were not druids at all, though the spells I have sensed here have a secular druidic cast to them, or they were druids who were so power hungry that they did not care about the repercussions of their actions.

I still need to talk to my god and goddess. There is much that I do not understand about sacred vs. secular, and much more I do not understand about what can be done about our present situation. I am still awestruck at having met the Keeper that the dwarfs told me about, but can not deny that I am disappointed at myself for not knowing what questions to ask him. I have been feeling rather useless to the party as of late. I do not know enough about sacred druidry to provide more than minimal help there, and even my archery skills pale in comparison to others. The adventures ahead still call to me, the desire to see what lies ahead is still strong.

Much to do. Much to learn.
I just hope that it will be enough.

Hide and Seek with a Dragon
About that dragon...

We spent a month at the dwarven city, each working toward our own ends. In my case, I learned the more about the art of the blade and mountain survival, given that we’re traveling in them. Given time, I suspect my bladework may exceed that of Alex or Ikari, two of the better swordspersons I’ve known, though their skill paled in comparison to my new teacher. Per his request, I will not relate who instructed me, nor mention him to any others, appreciating as few might the desire to be left alone. It may be worthwhile to return here, someday, if only to see Ishmael, who has elected to stay and become the master of the forge. He fulfilled his commission by giving me an easier to read breakdown of the formula with notes and citations which may be sufficient to begin the process of work to create Egyptian Bronze. They have the metals needed to combine it here, and if we are able to establish a trade route, our smiths may be able to purchase raw materials here which will allow us to market this new technology.

In communing with Ma’at about Fife, I’ve learned the basics of a new ritual, too complex to cast currently, which may permit me to learn whether his soul is in balance, and if not, what he would need to restore that balance. This may help him shed the bad luck which trails him, and which may cause him to die rather quickly, unless we are able to correct it. This spell may also help me learn the status of my own soul, as I have not yet had the chance to establish Law, and am uncertain where I would need to go to do so. In the interim, I have taken back the bronze spear, so that if it comes to a battle, I might use it in hand to hand combat the way Ishmael Dragonsbane did. Sadly, Fife’s current condition precludes him from being trusted with what may be our most effective weapon against it.

Our next task will likely involve getting to the city, and through the use of the compass and my armor, I’ve learned that the dragon is actually a fae, and circles the bowl every night, always in the same direction, and at different speeds. Having obtained a sense of his pattern, we departed, taking only one cart and twelve of the oxen, so we would be able to switch them out as needed, if speed was an issue. Given the possible need to hide from the dragon, I asked for a test and discovered it would take us approximately one hour to pull off the side of the road and hide, and while that is not ideal, with practice we may be able to reduce the time it takes to take shelter. In the course of hiding, Lan discovered that this bowl is actually a fairy circle, and that the dragon is likely trapped here, and I wonder if the dragon is not looking only for a way out, more than anything else. It’s something to consider, though I have no idea what it would take to either free the dragon or break the circle, if needed.

When we traveled to the large tree where the druid was said to live, we met an orc who had been trapped by two brownies and was now in their debt. They were geased into making addictive cookies for ten years, several of which have passed, and the cookies and additive enough that Jaeger was soon in debt for nine gold pieces. After a bit of conversation, he seemed frustrated and ill tempered, though to be fair, his situation was such that he needed us to escape, and my cautioned questioning delayed his freedom. He mentioned something called the “Silver Quill” which appears to be a name for Leilana, who is goddess of the orcs. As I understand what Lan told me, through some characteristic she possessed in life, Leilana became the goddess of the orcs who regenerate, when they gained enough belief to generate a goddess. She’s been trying to stop them, with no avail, and those we seek to stop killed Yeager’s friends and family, making him cautious about traveling with us. At this point, I paid his debt, so he would have the freedom to go with us or not, as he chose, and he elected to accompany us, at least for now.

That night, we were visited by two dwarves who were returning to the dwarvish city from battle, and who appeared to be sorely wounded. They described the gnomish city as both locked up and raided by the Rasbabans, a group Taran mentioned in passing when telling stories around the fire about the city where Gran’tir lives, and who had begun marketing a new metal. The senior dwarf warned us that the gnomes would likely be unfriendly, given that it was humans who had raided them, and that the forges of that city were now cold. After Lan healed the dwarves, and they had eaten, they elected to press on, to continue to the dwarvish city, and we went back to bed.

I the morning, Yeager used magic which came in very handy when he was able to manipulate the earth itself, to make the cart travel much faster, and I suspect he will be of considerable use, if all his spells are of such utility. We made excellent time and are now outside an enchanted forest, which we believe contains the ents that Cora wishes to speak to. If we are fortunate, we may be able to find out more information about the city of Emer, and sylvan trees, so that we may prevent whatever is tapped into the soul wells from corrupting them, something Cora fears greatly.

Into the Halls of the Mountain Dwarves
Our next heroic labor appears...

We’re getting redirected, yet again. I shouldn’t be surprised, I suppose. Cora’sol Tyrtlarn is old enough to get sidetracked a hundred times over and still live long enough to accomplish all her tasks when she gets back to them, and after her time in the desert, I suspect she has gotten somewhat stir-crazy. Our current detour is to explore an Elven City rumored to have a flowering Sylvan tree, which may help her heal the corruption in the City of Elves. Having prepared for the journey as best as I see fit, we departed in search of a city we had a vague location of. On the road, Kellyn focused on her studies and gained new powers, one of which is the ability to locate the best path for us to take, and possibly create paths if need be. This will be very useful in the future, provided we know where we wish to go.

Given that Kellyn has two of the pieces of her staff back, it occurred to me that the Red Mage who was pursuing them might learn of their new location and change direction. Based on the answer from my compass, I learned he was coming, he could sense us, and while he might not be able to Scry Kellyn, he could Scry the rest of us, likely to see if he could determine where she was. Relating this to the rest of the party, I was concerned at what a Fyewareian mage could do, much less one who can attack from a distance. Based on what I have seen Kellyn do, it’s possible he can cast spells at targets he’s scrying, and thus blast us before we even know it’s coming. The others tell me I worry too much, but that appears to my task in this group… to be the pessimist who presumes the worst and tries to plan for it. I’ve known four mages significantly well: Timu, a blind mage who could likely navigate better than I could sighted, Ahriman, who could summon armies of undead to do his bidding and who could unlock the images of the past, Lan, a Fae and the Avatar of a goddess, and Kellyn, who has performed feats and wonders of previously unimaginable power. Even taking the average of those four is not someone I would like to have hunting me, and as I discussed what we should do, Osmun prayed to his god and received a new power which may prove effective. Sadly, when practicing it, he had the misfortune to cover a Gryphon in it, although Kellyn was able to clean it up. It’s a fortunate thing, as there was another circling above us, which might have done great damage by surprise had we acted foolishly. Fortunately Fife was there to prevent any rash action.

In light of the vampires we just faced, I’ve asked him to being teaching me how to use blunt weapons more effectively, so that if the time comes when I need to stake another vampire, I may have a reasonable chance of success at doing so. When I had learned all I could for now, I asked Ishmael to being teaching me Dwarvish, as it may be useful to know, and to have a second person fluent if it comes to that, given where we hope to end up, a city of Dwarves, Elves, and Gnomes. In addition, given the man who fell into the river may very well be an omen, I’ve asked Kellyn to teach me to swim. We appear to have come to an armistice, and while I doubt we will ever be friends, we managed to be civil to each other for six months, to the point where I no longer need to pray to Ma’at to give me to the strength to not kill her every morning.

Making our way to a mountain path, Lan was able to convert to an insubstantial form well enough to open the door and we took refuge inside. Inside was a small village, where we elected to rest for the night, so we could advance into the mountain well rested and prepared for whatever might come next. Sadly, we didn’t make it out of the town before there was an incident. Fife and Ishmael, in the course of exploring, discovered that the sticks in the doorways caused bad luck to anyone who crossed or moved them, to the point where now Fife may very well be a danger to himself. Kellyn does not know how to remove this curse from him, and while it’s possible my sword might be able to do so, I suspect this is the balance of his choice to cross the stick. I say that, even as I benefited from his action. Cora was able to find high quality tea and porcelain in a tea shop, which we have taken so that I may later attempt to repair it with my broach, which I have learned how much energy it has and have energy to spend. I’ve spent the past few months attempting to determine how much power is in it, that I may use it judiciously when it low, and perhaps more often when I have power to spare. The secret has alluded me, so far.

The next day, we began a decent into the mountain, having discovered a wall which blocked off the entrance and requiring that we move forward to exit. By switching off the oxen, we began to make good time, and I kept an eye out for anything on the ceiling, remembering the creature which wounded me in the pyramid. The ring I took from the clerics in the swamp has been of great help in resisting the heat I’ve faced, and while it may not actually destroy fire, it does appear to protect me from it. It protects me so much, in fact, that I had to take it off to realize how hot the tunnels were getting, as Cora had warned us it would. With Kellyn and Osmun with us, food the party was covered, though I was wondering if we would soon run out of food for the horses and oxen. Fortunately (?) before that occurred, we reached the liquid rock Cora warned us of. As the carts were capable of being disassembled, Tobias used my ring to protect himself as he ferried our equipment and then the carts themselves over the bridge, while Ishmael was struck with inspiration and began to repair Cora’s sword. The sounds it made resembled something Fife later called a banshee, and it’s possible that there is a spirit in the sword, fashioned there in the crafting to give it power, similar to the leyan sword I possess.

With Tobias’ help, I was able to get the animals across the bridge and as we watched from the relative safety of the other side of the bridge Ishmael sang. Ishmael’s singing caused the dwarves nearby to open the doors, revealing an interior with a garden of mushrooms, which they permitted us to enter as they listen in respectful silence to Ishmael as he worked. He was able to repair that sword and we were soon met with a dwarf of rank who spoke with Ishmael about his skills and our purpose here. As Ishmael translated, I spoke honestly, though not completely, and my name didn’t do as much as normal, though the prospect of trade seemed to please him.

The dwarves here had some difficult times and have lost a significant # of their fighting age citizens, and could use weapons and trade goods. As a gesture of goodwill, I offered five of our oxen, four female, and one male, so they might get breeding stock to slowly increase their numbers, and gave dwarven leader the sword I originally purchased for Ikari, of blessed memory, which was of excellent quality. He demonstrated significantly better skill than I possess, probably even better than Alex, and I saw an opportunity to learn. He is a dwarf of some renown, but I had not heard of him, which was to my benefit, because he would only teach me if I had NOT heard of him. I’m not certain I understand, but I certainly will respect his wishes and not speak of him to others. He demonstrated skill enough that he was able to tell the life of the giant whose thighbone was used as the hilt in my claymore, I look forward to learning all he will deign to teach me.

While here, Cora was able to trade the tea plant she had grown from the cuttings I had taken from Mat’ron’s garden and trade it for local tea, and acquired far more than I managed with the blue stones I traded. We now have 20 bricks of tea we may take with us, with another 80 going to the oasis, and I believe we will be able to start a trade in tea and porcelain, which I hope will be profitable for both the dwarves and the oasis. There is also silk, which the dwarves seem use only for their children, but which I explained is highly valuable in the desert, and I traded a pregnant oxen for some silken clothing and even silken rope, which had not occurred to them to make. It may end up being stronger than the rope we normally use, and give some of the things we do with it, that may very well be of significant use. They also have the metals and apparently the knowledge and heat needed to work in Egyptian Bronze. I can see trading for the metals here to make it there, or even asking to station smiths here to send the weapons back to the Oasis. Trade for goods in something I am gaining experience in, and while the relative value of currency can be agreed on, trading for goods is more open to exploitation. My reputation is important to me, given I represent myself, my family, and Ma’at, not necessarily in that order, and thus do not wish to be known for making deals which are either unfair or harmful.

Ma’at has told me to do good, and so I aim to do so. The trade will go through Eeyore, and thus help revitalize that town, and the grass they have here, which renews constantly, may do well for grazing. Given the remote location, and may turn out to be very profitable to take cattle here, let it graze and breed, and then trade it to the dwarves for the oil, silk, and tea. Ma’at does not appear to concern herself with nonhumans, but people of Eeyore may be helped back to balance with the trade which goes through here, and as Ma’at wishes me to be the consort to the princess, this may be an excellent service I may provide, namely finding new trade routes to enrich the oasis. I’m still struggling to find my way, but I hope my actions are pleasing her. My immediate goals, dwarven training aside, is to learn the name of my sword and how to gauge the power of my broach. I don’t want to waste its power, but at the same time, I recognize how useful it may be, especially against a dragon.

The city of Emer is said to have walls of emerald and was an elven city, and it was also the central hub of trade for this region until the dragon took it. There may be an elven druid still there, but the dragon we face may be an Emerald Dragon, and by all reports is both cunning and territorial. The Dragon actually took the golden road which led to the city, and we were warned to be careful when traveling lest he see us believe the current plan is to stay in this city so that Ishmael may learn the ways of his religion, which Fife seems to have converted to simply for the sake of the beer. Cora also poses no objection to an extended stay, as it would allow her to research the druid who lived here and possibly find tools or materials that may have been left behind. Once this is done, I believe we should visit the other cities to learn what we can before we venture into the center to face whatever is there. We have faced a dragon before, and survived only through Ishmael’s quick thinking. I’d like to be more prepared this time. It’s possible we might learn enough at the other cities to stand a fighting chance, though it may turn out that we don’t have face the dragon at all. I’m not relying on that possibility, but I also have no wish to pick a fight when we don’t need to engage. Hopefully whatever we earn and learn will help us make it to the library to return the book for Kellyn’s quest, before returning to deal with the elves and whatever was corrupting the Sylvan tree. I do need to return home to be married but I recognize that my goals are not more important than the goals of the others.

I heard Fife and Ishmael commenting on my tendency to try to make sure we accomplish what everyone wants in the more efficient way possible, as after we survive this dragon, and the next two, and then the elves, we will be facing orcs with remarkable powers of regeneration, after which we will either try to find a way to heal the wounded northerner Kellyn wishes to heal, or return to the desert so I may be married. Given I know we will need Crawlsargot to stop the dark elves, that will need to something we do after I’m married, and have purified the temple beneath the Oasis, should it not yet have been done. Perhaps someone can tell me of city near where Crawlsargot is located, per the compass, so we may find it, and restore balance to the desert.

And to think, two years ago, I would have been happy to die of old age, remembered only by the Immortal, and instead, I appear to be becoming a legend in my own time. Not sure how I feel about that.


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