-296 GP (+ Portion of Vault if cracked)
-Elven Chain shirt: 200 xp, 400 gp. 15gp for leggings.
-Saucy love letters from Great Historical Figure (300 gp)
- 100 GP: Complete copy of famous treatise, half lost before now theory
- 80 GP: Partially finished history of Syrix in Elven.
- 10 GP: Book of children’s rhymes.
- 10 GP: Series of famous poems.
-Chara leveled to 2. Her Wisdom increased by 1 after drinking from the Satyr’s Chalice outside the Temple of the Hunter (see below).
-Ent leveled to 2.
-I, Lucens Princeps, became the Sworn Knight of Grandmoth – the Drya – Granny. I became the Knight of Granny. Also (colloquially) referred to as a Knight of the Green. It comes with an enchanted bow and a great deal of worry but may be a way to help mitigate my…situation.
-Ms. Blackfingers: Stalwart Paladin of Valkor. Looks like a schoolgirl. Hits like a battering ram. Blunt.
-Ms. Chara: Fellow Seeker after Power (from Beyond, in her case). Charming. Duplicitous. Literally gets inside your head.
-Mr. Cooperson: Sorceror, former Hound of Herne. Quietly watchful. His prey tends to short lifespans.
-Mr. Ent: Very confident young Ranger. Strangely antagonistic towards trees and fond of nets.
-Myself (Lucens Princeps): Attempting to make good things from my bad decisions. Time will tell.
We set out on an early summer’s day. Those who had met the Arch-Fey Grandm – Her Esteemed – The Lady of – GRANNY – consulted the Lunar Calendar we’ve informally adopted to attend to this very important topic and declared that with an early crescent moon in the sky she was not liable to murder us all and make us into tree mulch. It is the little touches that mark a gracious hostess. We were also asked to ‘ware of the Hag Rovagga, as well as the apparently bottomless Sleeping Pool that was found – and then so awfully overshadowed – by the Mantis encounter.
After my approved furlough was processed and my cell cleared, I enjoyed the relatively inexperienced Chara and Ent’s attempts to seem un-fazed by the bustle and havoc of the Guildhall. Mystical dweomers going off, strange smells from the Applied Alchemy department to which Valerian is contributing between periodic re-inventions of their written aesthetic, the surprisingly carrying contralto of Fior issuing daily duty rosters over six arguments and a tearful confession.
As we left with our pass for the Wall, the harried but ever-welcome Memorial Fund personnel loaded us and the bewildered neophytes down with potions. As always, we were glad of their presence later.
Outside, Mr. du Vayrir de la Grande Contumace Saint-Emilion was waiting eagerly to gift us with the blessings of the Tree. After discreetly ascertaining whether any of us were soon to be married or to come of age in our cultural traditions – apparently that can be a useful source of power(?) – he extended Aid to all the party, making us significantly doughtier personages for a few hours (+ 10 HP). With a familiar bow of mutual Divine Servant respect, he offered Ms. Blackfingers a longer-term enchantment of her weapons or armor; she elected to enhance the Vampire’s Greatsword she has borrowed until Mr. du Vayrir de la Grande Contumace Saint-Emilion is able to better use it. As he bowed and retreated from the scene, I reflected again on how comparatively slight he is minus the approximately 75 pounds of hardened steel he cocoons himself in. Perhaps some metaphor there. He waved us goodbye. Good lad.
After this we set out from the Wall. As we progressed, the sun began to beat down. Those whose blood is not used to rather more balmy and lava-strewn environs appeared to be in some distress. Only how near we were to the water avoided the risk of heat exhaustion (it seems).
Under these conditions we walked through forest, veering Westward around the haunts of
Rovagga the Cruel, with whom we’d had bad dealings before. The delicately shimmering light woods of the Enchanted Forest were all around us – but in this case with a certain focus. A…shimmering. Perpetually just out of view. Never quite there when one tries to see it.
As we kept travelling northwards towards Syrix, we crossed a bridge we’d previously repaired and headed west. Mr. Ent cut down a tree branch with a single perfect swipe to make a one-man parasol for his pack to hold over his head. He did not offer to extend the favour to the others. He will learn the value of companionship and mutual debts of amity. Or he will not. In either eventuality he will learn about himself. Maybe he will even like what he learns.
Mr. Cooperson tried his best but failed to see the shimmering, as did Ms. Chara. (16 / 13 Perception). Mr. Ent tried to fire his longbow completely blindly at it, before he ‘saw’ it and lost track of the phenomenon, but missed terribly badly (4 w. Disadvantage) and lodged an arrow in a helpless and unoffending tree.
Myself, I was completely unable to see it, but I did my best to assuage any animus it might have felt to us after Mr. Ent’s dubiously advisable attack. (CHA 19). We move on and, whether I helped or not, there were no attacks or further encounters with the shimmering entity(?).
Cresting a hill, we see Syrix in the distance, approximately 4 miles away. The great palaces and towers of stone are mostly fallen to ruin, trees and vines new sentinels among the relics of our fallen Empire. The South Central district of Syrix is dominated by the Dragonkin Fortress – I shall not dignify them with the – AHEM – ‘C.P.’ appellation prior and less couth log-keepers have leveled upon them. Knowing that a new, less feral group of Dragonkin has reoccupied the fort, and not being quite as…larcenously reckless as some of our companions in the Guild, we took a pass on risking our lives and went elsewhere.
Specifically, some of the trees to the East of the city clearly had constructions in them – buildings up in the boughs. Behind them, just visible, was the verdant behemoth that is home to the Arch-F – GRANNY. I concede defeat; you can make me write it that way too. I will not try to be ‘stuffy’ about it. Granny. _ Granny_. (Apologies. See below.) The constructions were some 4 miles away. Mr. Ent, who made some show of calling himself ‘the Keen-Eyed’ could see little in the way of details.
Marching ahead, Mr. Ent was a veritable ghost in his shrub-based camouflages (23 Stealth) but not quite as focused as one might like (15 Perception.) He did have the excellent idea to set 6 bells on a shared rope as an emergency signal – an alarm to signify his imminent peril and summon aid.
As we walked into Syrix from its south-east, Mr. Cooperson quietly asked us to help him look for “Good Armor Wood.” Hardwood, apparently – ideally magical, or otherwise able to found wooden armor so that the less…iron-friendly members of our troupe might guard themselves against perils most dire. All we seemed to see, however, were the substantial construction in the trees. These are far older than the other trees glimpsed in Syrix, evident survivors of its heyday, now overgrowing its ruins. Tall, broad, with full houses nestled in their canopy, clearly weathered 300-year-old survivors of the Corruption. Some still have ladders, by some minor miracle. This helps one climb the ~15 – 30 feet up to their doors.
Mr. Cooperson found one such ladder (14 Carpentry), and his keen eye found a delicately lacquered exquisitely preserved example indeed! The house atop it was similarly lovely, if decayed – the central pillar of the tree around which the room curved had swollen and cracked the fine tiling. Rotting throw blankets of great craftspersonship littered the room. The wall was adorned with lacquered paintings flanking a balcony overlooking the district. The Elves among us confirmed that this had been an Elven Quarter of Syrix by assessing the architecture and contents of the house. The rest of us established, more pragmatically, that this house had been thoroughly scavenged of any valuables.
In trying to reach another house, we found that the wooden suspension bridges on which we might have once relied to stay up above street level and go house to house have collapsed. A regrettable but not especially surprising circumstance.
This lead to a wider strategic discussion in which the party determined to survey the city first, avoid the Fort, and find points of interest to return to more systematically on later days of the Expedition. We also determined that we would likely sleep in this house, with the rope ladder pulled up, to be safe from any threats below – all while descending the ladder back down to the streets below.
At the mention of threats, some alien echo of distorted coincidence had Ms. Chara (Perception 24) cocking her head, and seconds later she heard faint howling headed in our direction: at first only from one side, then from the others, all approaching faster when we thought they should be if mere wolves.
Mr. Cooperson, with a bit of my assistance, found a ladder up (Investigation 14). All made it up without incident save, I am ashamed to say, for myself (6 Athletics, 2 Dexterity). I slipped and fell as I ascended the rope ladder, and could not even catch the hand of Mr. Ent to save myself. I took rather a knock (8 damage) from falling before Ms. Blackfingers pulled me up with a rope tied around me like I was weightless.
Soon a ring of ~1 dozen Shimmering Wolves – 1 immense, pony-sized – were circling around the base of the tree in snarling chorus. Prior expeditions reminded us that these beings, when not incapacitated by Silanya’s greatest bard, can blur and can trigger a magical energy backlash, like a flash of lightning, when hit by an attack. (I luckily recalled that detail with some interest from past logs (Arcana 22). I was, however, unsure as to how non-melee attacks worked for the lightning backlash effect.)
Ms. Blackfingers decided to cut this knotty theoretical problem with the sword – or, rather, the javelin. On throwing one, she impaled a smaller Shimmer Wolf and killed it (7 damage), but could not dodge the jet of lightning that lanced out at her from the wound (revolting…) and she took just as much damage.
Seeing this, we hid inside the house and peek out through cracks. Agitated, the Shimmering Pack began to run in circles about the tree. A sudden howl from one of the little fellows chilled Ms. Blackfingers to the bone, but she shook off any unusual effects (CHA 21). One might fervently have wished for Mr. Dareshin, and his mystical music that turned these creatures to humble canines on their last appearance before our Guild.
Nervously taking stock of our options, we assess that the nearest tree is 20’ and that escape is thus a dubious possibility. We also consider whether Ms. Chara might use her Awakened Mind to communicate with wolves. Does a Wolf have a language? Does a Shimmer Wolf? Such is usually a question for the academic but we found it of singular and practical importance on this day. Ms. Blackfingers suddenly felt overcome by a second spectral howl from a little Wolf (CHA 10) and was obviously blasted by some mental effect – wincing in pain (11 psychic) and clambering away from the noise, farther up the tree, in what she asked me very earnestly to describe as “tactical upward advance” should Mr. Valkor inquire after her motivations.
Seeing this display, Mr. Ent boldly tied a rope to himself, the other end to a handaxe, and slammed it into the tree as an anchor. Unfortunately for him, the hit was less of a ‘slam’ than a ‘tap’ (STR 7) and it only went in 1/4-inch or so, but he looked very manly doing so, I shan’t deny. In the background, Ms. Blackfingers Layed Hands on herself and discreetly climbed back down.
Mr. Cooperson announced to no-one in particular that he was “Going to kill that thing” – the large Shimmer Wolf. He seemed more…antagonistically ferocious thereafter. I cannot fault his wherewithal, as Mr. Cooperson then launched a devastating volley against the Wolf, Magic Missiles punching through its side (13 damage) – causing a significant backlash (6 damage) to Mr. Cooperson. Seeing the effectiveness of Force, and hearing Ms. Blackfingers speculate that rapid attacks might prevent the creatures building up another charge of retaliatory lightning, I laid my Hex upon it and fired an Eldritch Blast that significantly injured it (6 force, 5 necrotic) but also caused it to Blur into near-invisibility. No return volley of lightning, however, occurred.
At the sudden Blurriness of our adversary, and at its exposed limits of vengeful reaction, Ms. Chara grinned a little and began to – eyes half-unfocused – whisper something under her breath. Though I heard nothing, I was left deeply uncomfortable by the shapes her mouth was making and cannot exactly say why. The creature suddenly stopped – looked horrified (14 psychic damage) – and dropped stone dead to the ground from Dissonant Whispers. Ms. Chara’s eyes stayed partially in focus – later, she confided that she used her Awakened Mind to advise another beast to “FEAR ME”. I heartily approve of her continued use of snarling threats to avoid a pointless slaughter.
Either this strange and cruel death, or perhaps this eerie psychic communication was close to the final straw. Mr. Ent assessed the mood of the beasts (Insight 18) and opined that they were almost ready to scatter. We made a great deal of noise with various clashes of metal and Thaumaturgical shouts and the Shimmer Wolf pack headed for the proverbial hills.
Made cautious by this encounter, I laid a Silent Image over the ground below us of the same terrain with no-one in it – a mirage of uninteresting nothing that was to be a common and profitable tactic as we progressed through our mission. Descending the ladder while Ms. Chara stood watch up top, I assisted (16 Arcana) as Mr. Ent (11 Survival) found some useful parts on the beasts for harvesting – 5 GP worth on a little javelin-ed Wolf and 20 GP worth on the larger Wolf.
Recalling that the eyes of the Shimmer Wolf contain magic, Ms. Blackfingers ate those of the little Wolf (1 of either Blur or Hellish Rebuke for 1 hr.) while Mr. Cooperson ate those of the larger (1 of Blur or Hellish Rebuke for 1 day). Mr. Ent considered eating offal from the larger Shimmer Wolf but was dissuaded by those of us less inclined to watch him die of poisoning or otherwise do himself injury.
To recover our resources, we took a short nap in our ‘tree fort’ as the troops somewhat childishly called the Elven residence we’d just searched. Their youthful vigour is on the whole a refreshing change, and who is to say when audacity might not accomplish what caution might fear to attempt?
We walk north towards…Granny…and the Green Cathedral where Her manifestation centers. The city stayed overgrown as we advanced, but by somewhat over halfway up the Eastern edge of Syrix, the city changed in its composition; the large trees were no longer covered in tree houses outside of the Elven Quarter we had just left. The buildings were, accordingly, of stone, and thus far more damaged by the surrounding growth than were the more organic constructions of the South. Some were all but collapsed, others almost bursting at the seams with internal plant growth. Moss coated the stones, staining these marble skeletons of the great beasts of Imperial bureaucracy. The plants seemed to be old – trees likely present twice as long as Corruption has ruled these lands. The Tree of Granny loomed over all around it, a verdant sentinel. (Quite literally.)
The partially collapsed buildings would necessitate great labours on our part to search – digging, hacking at vines. Toil. We eschewed such for now and, not wishing to disturb Granny, described a semi-circle around Her Demesnes.
North of that area, we found an immense garden – the stone outlines of planting beds, statues in water features (recognizable likenesses of the grandees of the former Syrix historical establishment), vines choking the contours of once elegant arcades.
Mr. Ent and myself located a single intact structure near the middle, notable amongst the general devastation. A semi-circle of stone pillars loomed 15’ in front of the elegantly carved entrance to a low building, ornately carved leaf-green door in the middle. Huge trees surrounded its elegant portico. The door among them opened easily enough to reveal stairs heading down. Mr. Cooperson sent Dancing Lights into a hallway crowded with roots and broken stonework, but no structural infirmities visible to our cursory inspection.
Ms. Blackfingers led us downstairs. This structure appeared to be a tomb – fronted by a statue, half-collapsed from encroaching root systems. A door was set into the far wall. Near us, a wood panel was lacquered with fine paintings of a figure in green leaves, blanketing her slender form from shoulders to knees. Ms. Blackfingers looked closer, and saw that the figure was armed, an ornate bow over her shoulder, a handaxe by her side, and a fine sword on one hip; Ms. Blackfingers’ knowledge of Religion (14) was insufficient to identifying who the figure was. My own assessment found that the painting was not likely magical (Arcana 3). It was not difficult for Mr. Ent to ascertain (WIS 22) that the figure was clad as a classical Ranger, and that what appeared to be a garment of leaves was likely interwoven ornate scale mail.
I found nothing (Investigation 4) on the altar, and Ms. Blackfingers sensed no evil with Divine Sense through the next door. As such, we decided to explore farther: I made an illusion of a terrifying and impenetrable door at the entrance we’d come in through (to dissuade any skulking locals from attacking us while we are trapped underground and force us to kill or be killed) and we opened the door farther in.
At the end of the long room we revealed was a stone slab, a bier, on which appeared the preserved corpse of a woman clad near identically to she in the lacquered panel. A fine bow rested under her, a sword at her side. The devout Ms. Blackfingers went to kneel and pray to this fallen, but obviously venerated warrior of the Old Times. Little came of her meditation (INT 4).
Elsewhere in the long room, plinths held 8 wooden statuettes, finely carved and of great historical significance (300 GP). One statuette showed a young woman, unarmored, kneeling in supplication; opposite her was a paired statuette of a beckoning Dryad half out of a tree.A third statuette, at the other end of the long room, depicted the woman in her full regalia, standing tall; another Dryad statuette beckoned to her from across the room. (Had we only paid closer attention…) In between these two matched sets were statuettes of a satyr, a pixie, a Fey hound, and a more humanoid-shaped faerie with a long spear.
When we took these statues, a repeated detail on the plinths below them caught our eye – a carving of a massive tree with spreading leaves, from which a beckoning hand extends towards the viewer. Much like that on the lacquered panel outside this longer room.
We had Mr. Ent search for traps (investigate 15) and when he reported none, began to remove the armaments from the armoured woman, to be met with the very serious objections of Ms. Blackfingers – who legitimately questioned the morality of taking the relics of the Honoured Departed. Mr. Cooperson thought about this point and then calmly continued to take the relics, but as respectfully as possible (17 Dexterity). He slid out the bow with only minor tissue damage to what, it transpired, was a dessicated mummy under an illusory veneer of preservation. The sword came even easier, although without Detect Magic none of us could properly assess their likely value. Burdened, Mr. Cooperson handed me the sword and bow. (A fateful, if understandably absent-minded, decision as it turned out. He could not have known.)
As a final note, Mr. Cooperson further searched the corpse under the illusion (Investigate 20) and found a huge, perfectly preserved ash tree leaf, green after centuries.
As we left with the treasures of the tomb, that ash leaf motif was quite startlingly prevalent about the room. Looking more closely at the lacquered painting of the lady – whom I now know to have been a Knight of the Green – there is a faint traced outline of a spreading tree and an outstretched hand from its trunk in the background of the image. The same design adorned each plinth in the room. When Mr. Cooperson placed his leaf atop the altar, a faint breeze stirred and the tree drew into sharper relief. A particular…soon to be familiar…face appeared in the Tree. Mr. Ent’s excitement led him to place many other mundane leaves upon the altar. Nothing happened, but we applauded his experimental fervour.
We left the tomb and headed out. Once we cleared the door, the wind from placing the leaf upon the altar stirred past us, intensified, and one of the truly Huge trees next to the doorway – caressed by that wind – began to creak and twist and move. It lumbered, suddenly alive and bellicose, towards us.
The first to react was Ms. Chara – she quite sensibly took one look at the behemoth bearing down and sprinted past us and around the building. As the tree-beast continued to approach, it became clear that I was the target of its outrage – it struck me a terrible blow (12 bludgeoning damage) with an outflung limb. Mr. Ent saw this devastating hit, worked out that his handaxe and his net were out of their depths here, and ran for cover himself. I cannot blame him.
Mr. Cooperson, Ms. Chara, and Mr. Ent all felt a fog creep over their minds – only Mr. Ent resisted the confusion that resulted from this mental attack (WIS 10, 10, 21). At the same time, a woman stepped out of the tree – lissome, lovely, green. A dryad. (Not THE Dryad.) She demanded the return of the bow and sword.
I – in an effort to bring valuable goods back to the Guild – advanced the position that as a believer in Nature, that great Cycle of life and death, I was surprised that she was so fixated on preserving the relics of the Dead when we could use them to help the Living and to make something great. New growth from old decay. (I never imagined that I would personally use a longbow; what happened next was…kismet, perhaps. Or karma. One of the aasimar traditions.)
The Dryad thought over my proposal and grabbed me to take me for ‘decision on your idea’. I was frog-armed along, the tree-beast behind me prodding me quite ferociously when I flagged; the party was whipped or seized with vines if they tried to slow or take another path. I suggested that any punishment be visited on me only (the stupid blood stirred, grinned sleepily at the thought of torment) but the dryad simply smiled absently. It was by this point quite clear that we were headed for Granny’s Demesnes.
Walking up to a tree, the dryad whispered a brief message. Instantly another elemental Fae tree spirit stepped out of a nearby tree – a glorious Sun to the pale candle that had brought us here. Elegant as a courtier, wild as a storm; knotted vines for hair, and a spectral gleam of sunlight all about her person. A body of vegetal growth and smooth bark, inhuman but lovely proportions. A cruel twist to the mouth, then an erotic one, then a gentle smile – all within seconds, none clearly the dominant mood. Incredibly beautiful.
“Newcomers who have returned – taking my gifts without my boon. Holding my blessing without my consent. Why do you act so rudely in my City?”
At this I, blushing, stumbling, made my speech again – to be cut off when barely begun. “No. No no, Lucens. You may have them but you may have them as my Knight. Will you accept?”
Ms. Blackfingers tried to step in and intervene – “He is new, Grandmother Dryad, and he knows not -” “Ah, Melora…no no no. I’ll do as I please with him and we both know that, so please don’t be dreary about what ‘duty’ or ‘fairness’ I owe you, hmm?” She turned back to me.
I asked to speak in private. Alone. She brought us to the heart of the Cathedral. Words were said. My armor flared with leaves in pattern, twisted into grass green armored surcoat. The sword flew to my side and met my hands like an old friend. The bow took my Eldritch Blast and launched it like a rocket – the more aesthetically beautiful the pose, the less it mattered what little skill (none at all, to be perfectly frank) I possessed at archery – every shot hit. As I searched for the wellspring of my magic, both Fey and Fiendish boons clamoured for entry. I will have my choice now of the offerings of two Rulers.
In my new finery, Granny – as she absolutely INSISTED I call Her from now on despite all my efforts at politesse, largely to amuse Herself at my discomfort – brought me back to the fold and gave me a first mission. The skinchangers of the coast had learned of Her, and somehow removed themselves from Her mental sway. They were multiplying. She told me, as Her Knight, to slay them in Her name.
Ms. Blackfingers began to broach the issue of how we might go underwater, and what boons might be offered for what price. “Ahhh…Lucens, as you are now you should know better than to ask the price before the gift. Not how I work. Say hello to the others for me. I await your service, my Knight of the Green…” and she faded into the nearest tree.
As we walk off, of a sudden we were very far away without having covered any of the intervening ground.
We decided to not dwell on my…singular encounter, and to make use of our last ours of Aid from Mr. du Vayrir de la Grande Contumace Saint-Emilion. We went to the north middle of the city. Westwards, tall buildings rose to the sky, many 4 or 5 stories. One drew our attention – the remnants of powerful Wards sparking out the remnants of their breached protective spells. These seemed, however, more decayed than assaulted. It was not a Wizard’s Tower as was Toba’s, but did seem garrisoned to offer a significant defence to those inside – a guard post writ large.
Entering, we saw barred cells inside the one central room – one with magical tracings around it. We theorized, without Ms. Leshannadöttir and her ilk along to better test the hypothesis, that this was part of a prison built to hold magic users. Otherwise, we found a blank stone box in the middle of the room. Nearby were stairs both up to a second floor and down to a basement.
Ms. Blackfingers tried to move the box, but even with her truly impressive abilities it remained affixed in place. Mr. Ent investigated (15) and found it to be hollow and able to open under some external stimulus. Ms. Blackfingers Detected Evil and found voids – thick stone, thin lead, who can say – in certain boxes. This one and two others below.
Mr. Ent was enthusiastic about heading downstairs to see what other boxes were here – we followed him into a basement that appeared to be some kind of vault or repository. Stone and metal boxes lined the walls, all with keyholes, almost all open without signs of forcible breach. The two closed Voids were a Stone box and a clearly lead-lined box. We searched the room (highest Investigation 15) and determined that barring very securely hidden secrets, there was nothing else here.
Lacking the Knock spell or the recklessness to risk damaging possibly magical lockboxes, we resolved to leave these for a future expedition with better preparations made for burglary and wandered upstairs. The 2nd floor of the Tower was in terrible shape. The floor crumbled, the stairs to the 4th floor were basically impossible to navigate. We did find what appeared to be a Wizard’s guard post – secured mage equipment, a lock-slot for a spellbook, even two Arcane Foci (2 * 25 GP) which we took for our pains.
Eventually mounting to the 3rd floor staircase, we saw a huge expanse of crumbling collapse. After Ms. Chara and myself used Mage Hand to lift grappling hooks to the upper level and offer support for the doguhty Ms. Blackfingers, she managed with some effort (Athletics 16 to physically carry Chara hand over hand up the ropes) to lift her to the next level.
We found ourself, at last, on the 3rd floor, in the ruins of a command centre with a flight of stairs heading up. Scrap paper scrawled all over with the same frenzied authorization from someone with (significant military) authority – “Release of Stored Artifacts for Immediate Use”. Around these frustrating half-clues, moldering scrolls and discarded weapons. Looking through a near-by filing cabinet for more (Investigation 8) I only crush papers whose magical protection is up.
We continued to ascend to the 4th floor, finding a large room, elaborately carved all over its floor, with one last flight of stairs to the roof. The floor carvings were complex, but we located detailed runes for use in combined rituals of 2-3 Wizards. The Power that might offer is…considerable. Regrettably we did not have the personnel to attempt such a ritual – and besides, all accoutrements of Arcane casting were long gone.
Throughout this tower, we noticed that all of the personal effects and material resources available had been ransacked, thrown together, organized with haste – there had been a matter of great urgency and all hands had been on the proverbial deck.
Coming to the edge of the parapet, Mr. Eagle-Eyed Ent surveyed Syrix from on high (Perception 23 w. Advantage) and noticed the following targets for further exploration:
- The near-to-downtown industrial area containing the Tower we were in
- A more built-up and better preserved ‘downtown core’ to the South of the Tower
- Military Structures – a far more martial-seeming district to the Southern edge of Syrix. Some points of greater buildup include the Fort to the Northwest on the water, which we know is staffed by Fish Men, and the major Fort to the South where Doom Came to the Dragonkin.
- Flooded Area – A section built out where water is high, partially collapsed into the swell.
*Granny’s Cathedral – As above.
*Dragonkin Patrols – 2 clockwise processions of ~6 dragonkin, each searching in patterns around the central hub of the Dragonkin Fortress. Earthbound but irritatingly persistent.
That noted and jotted down, we Investigated the desk (8) but only crumbled papers in our hands. We decided thereafter to let discretion be the better part of valour – to mark the unopened boxes as a Minor Point of Interest and then to return some day with specialized anti-lock measures.
We resolved to sleep again in the Elven Quarter. Making our way back without incident, we found a perfect secure location (Survival 21) and the night was uneventful.
(Meanwhile, in town, Mr. du Vayrir de la Grand Contumace Saint-Emilion stayed up the first of several nights in a row (CON 33 w. Inspiration) to keep Ms. Blackfingers’ sword magical.
That second morning, we were greeted with the following (self-reported) Sending exchange of 25-word messages between Mr. du Vayrir de la Grand Contumace Saint-Emilion in town and Ms. Blackfingers by our side:
- Message: Hello Melora how are things. Please list who died and how if there were any casualties. Regards, Jean-Pierre du Vayrir de la Grand Contumace Saint-Emilion. Sovan says Hello.*
- Reply: Zero casualties to report. Minor encounter with scary wolves. Driven off safely. Lucens now Chosen Knight of Grandmother Dryad. Found magic boxes. Best to Sovan.
- Message: Did you tell him about Bertholdt. But. But. But. Wasting words. Boxes sound good. Wolves indeed scary. Sure you did your best. Thanks for helpful report.
- Reply: Did best to dissuade. Grandmother Dryad obstinate. Boxes best left for specialized team expedition. Melora out.
Mr. du Vayrir de la Grand Contumace Saint-Emilion will be a worrier!
We suddenly froze as Mr. Cooperson noticed nearby (Perception 21) the same baying of the Shimmer Wolves as presaged our skirmish with the Pack yesterday. Hidden in our tree we sat inert and no one was the wiser.
We explored the Elven Quarter house to house for the rest of the day. Somewhat gracelessly, but with impressive rapidity, Ms. Blackfingers scaled a high ascent to return with 90 GP worth of books (the first two detailed above.) This was our last major find, among assorted knickknacks, until we came to an ornate house with a VERY well locked door made of wood.
When that door refused to open, Ms. Blackfingers struck it a deadly blow (15 slashing) only for its hinges to repel all force and damage right before they gave. Mr. Ent was similarly hard-pressed to hack through the door with his mighty, mighty hand-axe by himself. So creative, his decision-making process. Eventually the mages joined the fray – Eldritch Blasts and _Firebolt_s succeeded where brute force had failed. The door – at last – buckled and gave way, its residual Abjuration wards too weak to hold off enough an onslaught of cantrips.
Inside the room, we found what appeared to be a family shrine. A small Elven offering altar contained paintings and other pictures – and by one wall lay a very fine short chain shirt, with matching chain leggings. Mr. Cooperson had a great success also – his hard work (Investigation 17) locating a little cache with a short, sealed bone tube inside. The place properly ransacked, we left for pastures new.
Though we kept searching the Elven homes, many of their valuables were already lining the pockets of past raiders. Nothing else found. A less than exciting day; from my perspective, such is a rare flower of a gift and many would let it fall from their hands like unheeding children. The others seemed dispirited from their less…expansive perspective on the perils of excitement.
We got about half of the Quarter thoroughly searched and resolved to retire, the rest ready for tomorrow.
After a determinedly dull evening, we slept atop the Elven Quarter (no encounters) and had unusual but untroubled dreams of endless seas of Green. (I did, at least.)
Back in town, Mr. du Vayrir de la Grand Contumace Saint-Emilion kept up the magic sword’s enchantment yet longer. (CON 25 w. Inspiration).
We opened the day with a light, filling breakfast and then four more hours of treehouses. Liberal use of Silent Image kept our progress undetected. Ms. Blackfingers insisted on being first up a rope and last to leave a bolthole – vanguard or rearguard as the case may be, her very overt dedication to Mr. Valkor’s principles is quite a thing to behold at great, great length for several days on end. on ground floors.
Regardless of our precautions, we were eventually attacked. Such is the Silanyan way. Heading down a rope ladder, Mr. Ent plunged to the ground as the line was slashed above his hands by an unseen adversary. Mr. Ent and Ms. Chara were left on the ground. The remainder of the Expedition was caught, uselessly, up in the tree.
For a brief moment both Ms. Chara and Mr. Ent reportedly felt dozy – unusually for those of Elven blood – but shrugged off what we must assume was Sleep. I must confess that I saw nothing at all (Perception 1) but made a vague and general threat to the empty air – “Ah hah. We are so strong. Very strong. Please run away we are so scared of losing control and crushing you like a bug. Ah aha hah.” (…I have indeed done better. Honesty remains the best policy throughout narration of life’s little peccadilloes.)
Deprived of any chance to spot our true tormentor, I readied an action to attack the next hostile entity that I caught sight of, and did not wait long – Mr. Ent was assailed by an insect infestation boiling from the ground, that seemed collectively unfazed by my rapid Eldritch Arrow (8 Force). Mr. Ent, keeping his own head, managed to evade damage from the living wall of tearing mandibles that poured over him.
Swinging down from on high with a rope (Athletics 15), the rather dashing Ms. Blackfingers readied a casting of Burning Hands from her enchanted greatsword for the moment that Mr. Ent got safely clear of the insect swarm.
Mr. Cooperson was not especially perceptive in his next assault, seeing a falling leaf as a possible Pixie disguise and blasting it to cinders with a Firebolt. Meanwhile, Ms. Chara uttered more Dissonant Whispers and the real Pixie dropped dead of a massive cerebral haemorrhage right by the cut line. This cued Mr. Ent to climb up out of insect range, whereupon the waiting Ms. Blackfingers unleashed her stored-up Burning Hands and immolated all surving insects (22 Fire).
Those on ground saw a panther exiting the scene in haste – another Pixie in disguise, or an accomplice, we knew not. Mr. Ent was having a very off day with his shooting (2 / 4 w. Disadvantage due to tree cover) and his longbow shot wide. We gave up on the fleeing piglet and kept exploring the Elven Quarter to completion.
Hours passed; we collected Elven knickknacks and found no books or items of interest. (35 GP total value scavenged.)
Then, suddenly, a fortunate passage of events: one house, on the ground amidst the roots, had a secret basement through a hidden door. Down below, a tunnel ran 90’ before arcing back up to another house accessed through a trapdoor in the ceiling. Tunnel between two houses. Distinctive to these two houses. 16 – Int Marc – cache in wall – pull out pouch, containing cheap looking ring (15gp) and small number of moldering letters.
Walking up to mage tower to scan the patrols – very sneaky dragonkin ducks around corner. Still knew when seen despite 19/26. Back up. Yelling in draconic other side of place. Silent image to cover retreat, it knows AGAIN, ent sees it, snaps off shot – hits, 5 damage.
15 around corner – hear shriek.
Luke goes around corner, it didn’t run, attacks me – 19 perception, see it no ambush. 10 init for Ent, 14 for Ms. Blackfingers, 4 for me. I do 12 (6) burning hands and 4 necrotic. It climbs up 1st – Ms. Blackfingers swings, sword knocked out of hand (1 then 2). Jumps up. Eldritch blast just misses. Yelling in Draconic all time. Magic missile for 16, shot for 7, Ms. Blackfingers climbs up. Another magic missile Hits w. 8, fucks up leg. Chara can’t get up.
It tries to hide, yelling draconic – others run t/w it. Mel can’t see it, drops down. Eldritch blast to skull, DED. Reverts to true form. Blue stretchy guy.
5 dragonkin. Set up on rooftops, Ms. Blackfingers to parlay. One is hexed. Ms. Blackfingers ½ way. Earthing to greatsword. CP what doing – Mel fighting fishfolk that spoke your language – there. 2, doesn’t work. Chara projects same message into mind. Who is this how happening?
She says I AM YOUR GOD. It believes her. Confused. I summon angel image. Chara yells in their heads as it appears. Idiots run.
Take whole corpse to Granny. (45gp of stuff – brian liver.)
30 minutes to G – whisper into tree. Trade granny anti-skinchanger parts thru Dryad. Dryad comes back with gold leaf worth 55. Still XP for skinchanger.
Keep going up north. Saw giant boars and bears nested in downtown core. Angel flies above us. Nothing fucks with us. Barracks. Closed metal lockers. Ms. Blackfingers can pry rusty one. Rusty one pries off. Could damage interior – 2 braces of daggers. Really wellmade throwing daggers. Bit tarnished, but usable. Not standard. Specialized for something. Appraise them later. 17 eldritch blast other one. 2 longbows on wall. One perfectly preserved, other worth 15. 19 arcana open, empty.
5gp accumulation from bunch of rando shit. Not as much personal stuff here. CPs get most of it. Sleep in tree houses.
Wake up – rain (magical turns out). Head to chalice – green glow. Find church. Chara glows. Swallow. Green glow instasntly fades. Chara gets + 1 wis. Decide to head back to treehouse.
Read a book: 1 is a series of famous poems – copies to mainland (10 gp) for not first edition.
2nd is partially finished history of Syrix in Elven (50 GP).
-Known as the Verdant city. One of the older in the Empire. One of first places to join Silanya – former city-state. Human, elven, oriented heavily towards rangers, druids, students of nature – part because area naturally respondent to Feywild. Easy to engage with Faeries. Patron spirits – twins – grey hunter and grandmother dryad. Def. grey hunters in chalice chapel. Herne might be grey hunter. Other patron of this city. Makes sense now that think about it – chalice is familiar. Share a roll. Diff. aspects of same concept. Grey Hunter does stuff Herne does – he’s been called that – but people dismiss Herne being called Grey Hunt.
Marc remembers overwrote childhood – pretty well. Herne replaced Grey Hunter. Fae – was a role? Doing what used to.
Little more on Grey Hunter – most of time in Faerie, Granny both here, both had presence both Planes.
Other than that, stuff about elven lineages. Could trace them. Not that clear. Some hearsay, some lack of clarity.
Last section Wonders Of: Descriptions: Two Churches, Fort, Underground Uunderwater Area Near Ports. Sure would have seen rest if still there. Near fishfolk.
Eventually muddy, peters out.
Detect Magic. Chain Shirt magic, Bone tube not magic.
No nighttime encounters.
Beautiful day. Go to military. 4 hours.
Perception – 19. Dragonkin. Ent and Ms. Blackfingers see it, bluff past it (8 + 13). Ms. Blackfingers goes up w Greatsword out – we get in position. Readied action, Mel goes around corner. 5 more back behind cover .
Ms. Blackfingers grounds. They hold fire. “Who are you what is that ?” 15 cha – Mel “That is our guardian spirit – we just explore. Killed skinchanger other day. Talked to patrol.” “That fake – birds fly through”. Gesture to cut it. “We killed changer.” “Youy dud.” “Yes.” “Why here?” “Look for things our people value.” “We value thin books. Trade weapons for them. Have any?” “Might have some yes.” “If you come maybe we trade.” Ms. Blackfingers Insights re if know sword – one giving it the side eye. Trying to take back to Fort.
“Still search in city – if want to trade – meet to West of Granny’s bubble.” “If find, go there.” “We there high sun tmrw.” “Ok.” They move on. “But – don’t come to our territory.” “We’ll leave.” Get thru half.
Ms. Blackfingers stashes the sword, I switch to stealth mode. Go downtown. Denser with buildings, quite scavenged. 15 Cha for Stealth Mode (Inspiration – pissed about Angels.)
Prioritizing high valiue targets this time. Mantis around. See soaring over us, 3 mantises. Slightly more careful. One building near cutoff. Little hill. Nice path. Up on hill. Slow walk forward. Chara 22 – get ½ way to house – spot in camo colours on top of house – pair of mantises. Leaning on roof. Mark as MPOI. Fuck off.
No other great targets. Net exploration is 24gp of crap and 2 books. End of day. Go back to end of day.
17 = Encounter.
-Ent + Mel
-Mark + Cha
-Ent + Luke
During last watch. I natch – see small winged figure. Flicker in and out. On cabinet in house. I shout, I shoot it for 16 with hex + blast. Relentless fixes it up. It flickers to invisibility, fucks off.
Go thru district. Silent Image protection again.
Perception 19 – 3 rats behaving strangely. Trundle through area. Stop. Look around. Scurried around come from other angle. Peering in. 0 bluff from Ent – Chara mindtocuhes burly one. Gets hunger response. Wanting response. First that – then – you can hear me – who are you – how did you do this. Thoughts fairly sentient.
Shift to rats. Ent pulls out shield + net, one steps forward swings – blocks bite, claws at him for 7.I do 18, 20 w hex to two – one fucks off. Marc magic missiles for 10, one fucks off. Ms. Blackfingers pulls magic greatsword, Chara touches mind “WE TOO HUNGER FOR FLESH”, it fucks off.
Ms. Blackfingers misses (12) greatswords. Find stash of 300gp of all random silver collected. Get other 7gp of search.
Go to dragonkin. Wait 2 hrs, didn’t show. Maybe no books?
Flooded area. Shored up and built out over shallow water. Fell into disrepair. Walk on dry land, much is sucking marsh. Brighton pier 200 years post apocalypse. Elven sign saying bank. Inside see 3 eely fishfolk torn to pieces. Cuts all over. 2 lying together, one some distance away. One quite old, others relatively fresh. Clean cuts. No adcid or bludgeons.
We head in. Front room – gated windows. Doorway in behind leading back further in. Side door to roon.
Check side door – meeting office. Door to where other went. 17 investigate – no signs of another creature in this place. No footprints, no scrapes, no blood. Divine sense gets nothing.
Open door and go in – prep b hands – back half sinking into water. Up to ankles. Floor ssags. Splash – not higher than calf. Trudge – office where bank employees work. Doors to other offices. Clearly locked door. Pried off hinges at back. Carefully advance.
Pried door open. Poke head around. Vault. # of safe deposit boxes – used paper currency. Most destroyed by water. Coins, safe deposit boxes, lockers. Mel – 15 Perception. Ornamental armor. One moved. Step back – mirror – no longer moving. Pull back.
It hears our plan to attack
Intruder protocol to use leathal force
Mind touch – “Trying to get back for the living” ‘Need authorization to move’
‘Who authorizes’ ‘Names’
‘Maybe we can move it close to town – find authorization’.
Chara 22 persuasion – very well if can assist in moving vault will reestablish, defend until authorized from list of people.
Ms. Blackfingers takes second backup empty backpack.
Meanwhile 17 Investigate (me) gets 35 GP of random coins. Most ransacked. Most recent fish pair had most.
Medium sized. 800 lbs wants – everything. If she’s encumbered. Can carry almost all of it.
Plan to hack it. X02. Carrying massive floor. All way home, X02 -= WARNING PASSERS BY THIS IS A MOBILE BANK VAULT. Have to stay 5’ next to each other.
Briefly see stooped elderly looking woman. “Fuck this”, she heads off.
Otherwise, our trip home was unveventful – especially with Mr. X-02 in store. We received some accolades for luring – inviting – him back behind the wall. (0.25*CR 4).
Once behind the wall, it became clear to us that the Vault – on closer inspection – remained largely ruined by exposure and time, but the remnants were still exceedingly valuable (750 GP) and contained a magical item in a lockbox worth a great deal (200 XP, 400 GP sale price(?)).
I returned myself to custody and settled in for uncomfortable dreams of green boughs smothering out the light from a field of endless flame. To control has been all, thus far. Now servitude – to BE controlled – shall perhaps augment the mix. Ni Diable, Ni Maitre. I shall do what I can to make that statement resonate in my heart of hearts as well as it trips off the tongue.
End of log. Thank you for reading. Should you have any further questions, you know vey well where to find me.