Finally Kira could marry Brae, and it happened where they both wanted - in the courtyard of Tenebrion´s Keep. Tenebrion was kind enough to let them borrow it for the occasion, and had also told his guards to stay away. After much beer drinking, some dancing and a lot of Hail the Couple!, a dozen of his guards came however and it was clear we had been there long enough. It was a wonderful wedding. May they live happily ever after!
I have received a letter from Papa, and he had some interesting things to add about the Ethereal Sword. This is after the raid described in Gurgi´s letter.
On day 71, year 541, early morning.
Gurgi, Papa, Merrill, Entilzha, Mervine proceed to Dal'Noth isle.
Gurgi is in possesion of a famed EtherealSword[ES], which increases atkus,
regia, but retains the darkus of an axe and the balthus of a SwordOfSouls
When Mervine first came onto the isle to meet the group, his SOS quivered in
his pack when he came close to Gurgi wielding his newly-found-again ES.
A characteristic of a SOS is that whenever you equip yours, everyone elses
in the lands equips as well, making a screaming sound heard only to the
While swinging at a 'noth that Gurgi was bricking, Mervine's sword equipped,
and he received this message (uneditted message, we checked for false
goodkarma messages as well)
Mervine says: "Your Sword of Souls screams with fear of the Ethereal
He also told me that they had discussed the incident afterwards, and spent some time contemplating on Remle´s treatise.
Cradlesong had been fallen on the sixth floor of Tenebrion´s Keep for almost a zodiac, before a group finally were able to get together and drag his corpse out of there. The terrible truth was, he was unable to depart. From his letter:
Upon the return to town...a dark pressence left my
body, I know not what it was, but I got the feeling that Tenebrion may have
had a lock on my soul which kept me from departing. Being free of his
grip...and with the friendly hopes of the rescuers, I once again...with my
last breath whispered the word...\depart. Cradlesong
Axell sent me a visionstone of a long battle east of the poppyfield on Tenebrion´s. This sketch is from that. They had been going in with around 40 exiles, but west of Flander´s were filled with beasties. All Umbrion´s. They managed to control this situation, but Axell told me that later they had a backspawn and all fell. Mass depart. I came out of the library later, and headed over to meet a small group there. We fought a bit and did well, until we all decided to enter the poppyfield. Bad bad bad, as one hit Flander and we were thrown out of the field. Since a rescue is not imminent, I will stay here for a while. Umbrion sure is pissed though. The illusions around his island must be weakening even more. Rumours abound in town, one is that something major bad will happen when we find his island. I have no doubt. Maybe all the quakes recently is related too. The storm is near, I can feel it. I´ll drift off now.....
Terrdi, day 40 of Spring, 541.
The storm brought down the illusions around Umbrion´s Island. Just enough so that a mystic like Robin Greyhawk could penetrate them. I hope the illusions will weaken more over time. There were a large group gathered at the western shore of this island. Too big to be able to move efficiently, as we used a very long time to pass even just a few snells. There were a lot of bickering among the exiles present, but I had made a promise to myself this day that I would not let any of that effect my enjoyment of this wonderfully dangerous island. We fought terrible beasties, like Valley Panthers and Cobras, weird beings like Lyfeledias. After a long time we reached the southern shore, where there were guards guarding a castle. From the looks of it, this might be where Umbrion himself lives, but I am not sure.
We moved up north again, and soon found another of these odd hollow trees. To my surprise, I was able to pass through the narrow passage - and found myself in a cavern. 2 other sylvan fighters were able to as well, and then it was clear to the group outside that the hollow trees were race and class specific. While the group went on searching for more trees, I made my way through the cave, and found the exit. It lead to a wonderfully peaceful place, with a waterfall and a whirlpool. And the best thing about it all, I was alone. What a relief, after all that noise and bickering and swearing. After watching the whirlpool closely, I decided to let it take me for a ride. Weeeeeeee! And ended up on the eastern part. Of course, I was terrified. After meeting some of the inhabitants on this island, I knew I wouldn´t last long alone. But, I was positively surprised, as what met me was nothing less than a glacier, with the beasties that come with it. Snow ferals, vermines, Frost Orga, and Frost Giants.
I had a great time. I slid down hillsides, made snow angels, danced Ice Cave Mahas, and made a fortune! It´s at times like these though that I wish I had some pathfinding skills and more troilus. I had to spend a great amount of time sitting down, with that ugly looking orga eye on my forehead. And there were plenty of places that looked like something for a pathfinder. Being alone, with so many new things - I just had to share with someone. So I was busy on the sunstone with both Cutlas and Merlisk, so I felt I had some company.
While I was busy exploring the glacier, things looked bad for that huge group. They had split off, searching for the trees to get to the whirlpool - the first that found their trees was thoom healers and fen fighters. Typically enough, one of the fen fighters went north of the pool and woke up a whole load of these odd looking beasties. That made the peaceful area not so peaceful anymore, as the beasties charged with a vengeance. Poor Papa fainted in the worst possible moment, and Karkras fell soon afterwards. It´s unclear to me what happened after that, and where the rest of the party fell. Karkras made this sketch, and he also got loads of compliments from the thoom healers that were there, seeing how he skillfully managed to stay alive for so long.
I continued to explore alone for well over 4 hours, but by then was so tired I could hardly walk .I searched for a place to sleep, but it turned out a Banshee had taken the cave I had pointed out as sleeping place, and it threw me out. Finally I ended up against the mountain, facing 3 of those large beasties and some nasty vermine that kept me trapped. It was a great adventure though...
Terrdi, day 47 of Spring, 541.
I went straight to Tenebrion´s Isle this day, determined to find that elusive poppy-field crystal. The piece that always escapes us. If I found it, I had hopes of gathering enough exiles to take the keep and get the other pieces we need. I was lucky, as I found the crystal at once, and headed west to search for the captain. Alas I was too eager in my search, tripped over some rats and got trapped near the bridge. I quickly sunstoned some healers, and they turned up on the scene - with fighters with them. More exiles came out of the library when it was known that the poppyfield crystal was in place, and we ran through the keep and the basement and got the rest. The way to the ethereal plane was open! Sadly our efforts got known by some of Puddleby´s known snerts - and I was faced with a dilemma. Should I spend 30 minutes trying to get rid of them, or should we just head straight in. I went for the last option, as time was short - and if nothing else, their corpses would be good as sandbags. I know we lost many fine exiles because of this. Most just loathe to travel with these guys. I just hit ignore usually, but - I am not the one who have to heal them when they fall.
Having snerts in a party also has another downside, which I pretty soon became aware of. Not all ignore these, and their bad behaviour, total lack of self-control and patience seems to be contagious. Our mystic Groan didn´t make a crossing, and fell. I quickly organized some other healers that wanted to come as well, and told them where Groan could be found. They then got some fighters with them, and were in our heels while we were holding. Pretty soon a stable group of veterans were in a state of panic, as they thought the trail had changed, and that we were "screwed". We were not of course, as Groan soon popped out of the circle with the rest right behind. Then one of the seasoned fighters got to sleep, one I knew we needed against the Sword Guardian. I was willing to wait some time for her, but this of course also got the blood boiling. When another fighter came with a suggestion, and then quite openly expressed his disagreement when I said no to his suggestion, with sighing and a general bad attitude - I had had enough. I told them all quite bluntly to shut up, and to do what we had to do. And it worked. We had only 2 snells left, and made it to the ethereal plane without further adoo - killed quickly off the 3 astral drakes as they present a great threat with their lightning - surrounded and pounded the sword guardian down to a pulp - and got the sword. We tested it on various things in the lands, learned a lot, and got many things off the list. I will later post a deeper analysis and also a collection of our educated guesses.
To all out there, you know who you are - suggestions for cause of action are always welcome, but when the leader says no, it means no. There might be other factors you are not considering, and you certainly do not undermine a leaders authority by continuing to express your great contempt for the decision made. You express your view, and then you follow whatever the leader decides. Even when you are in great disagreement. I do this constantly. I even have a lot of departs to prove it. And don´t let those snerts decide your attitude.
RQ being a clan of mostly book wurms and scholars, I had asked Sutai to lead us in a workout. He thankfully accepted, and in today´s clanmeeting was able to perform. Being the Hall leader of the Defenders, physical fitness is important to me. The mind is taken care of by our SoulGuider Healery. We had a good showing at the clanmeeting, and soon found ourselves in challenging poses taught by Sutai. We had a great workout and I would recommend this treatment to other clans out there that has many of it´s members hanging over books in the library.
After this exhausting exercise, we had the chance to hear Sutai tell a tale in the Bards field, an entry for the Bardcontest that has been going on for some time. His act was artistic, brilliant and unique, and yet he didn´t win a prize. Promptly did RQ decide to give him a prize for extraordinary performance. I made a visionstone of his tale, that can be found in the Visionstone Depositary.
On Lundi, day 52 of Spring, 541 a large group of exiles finally were able to conquer Dred Passage. Tuzar Bloodblade made a visionstone of this, you can find it in the Visionstone Depositary. Koric has already written in great length about this adventure. You can also find it in the Fishwrap. I will concentrate on the most important new thing we learned.
Around 4 years ago, Bartok the Orga Chief lead another assault on our town - and the orgas stole our catapult. Katpus was the one who kept it in shape near its usual place at east gate. It was both a blessing and a curse at the time, since he wasn´t too accurate in his aiming, hitting both friend and foe. I do remember once though, where the catapult was useful in killing off a Sunwyrm that had escaped the rocky cave. But the casualties to the catapult on the friendly side was great too. So, when the orgas stole it - the hunt for it wasn´t too eager I have to admit. Thinking the orgas might as well have it, and hoping they would kill themselves with it. We did look for it from time to time. When we eventually managed to get to Orga Camp 4, or when we found Snagglewood, got through Wisher´s Gate to Hatred Hollow etc. All we knew was that the orga had headed eastwards with it. And that was the last time we saw Katpus too. Imagine our surprise in Foothills, when we meet him again, so far from home.
He had followed his beloved catapult all the way from east gate, through tanglewood, snaggy, Orga Outback and to the foothills, keeping himself hidden from sight. Here, so far from home - he found this cave and made it his new home, trying to write down what he remembered of the plans for a new catapult. He could tell us of a Orga Stronghold to the east, through the passes. He had made it there once, but there had been a quake - and he was unable to go there again. The orga keep the catapult plans in this stronghold, and he asked for our help in retrieving them. He could also tell us of a library Trillbane made, also through the passes to the east, underground. What he told us has a great significance in many ways.
So far we have dealt with Orga Camps, and a village - the one in Orga Outback, but never before have we seen an Orga Stronghold. Katpus could tell us that these orga are both smart and strong, and it sounds like a kind of orga we have only met a few times before, Bartok and his crew. When we find it , my guess is that it will lead to one of the greatest battles in our history. Getting back the catapult plans will not be a simple stroll in the park. We slept in the cave, and stayed in foothills for 12 days. It was tedious work, digging through all those rocks - but the shovels we got from Katpus made it a lot easier. We did manage to map a large part of the passes, but there are still places we have not been. Also, we didn´t have a mystic with us in our search, and chances are the orgas again have used their magic to weave illusions only penetrated by mystics. There is a lot of work yet to be done. I can only hope we will succeed getting through Dred Passage again shortly and continue the search.