Monday, June 14, 2010

Assembled Inaction?

Szutsavanica, 7th Vog, YT330

Amethäriel and Brimstone went to see Voltarr at the tower on arrival. Voltarr invited Vogyin and two council members to participate. Those that had seemed inclined to immediate action at previous council meetings. After a brief discussion Gorran was called for and the insights of Gorran and Voltarr were reprised. The other companions had all joined the meeting when three other council members also arrived uninvited. The meeting was removed to the council chamber as the existing room was exceedingly cramped with sixteen in it. The discussion went on for hours. This time the mages were not the only ones doing the talking. Brimstone, Olorin and others were also vociferous. Before the meeting had finished, Tolarr, Father Nicolai and Olorin had decided to set off on there own for Alsaperkunoz in the morning. A few hours after they had retired the rest of the assembly had agreed on a plan. Voltarr and two other mages would accompany Amethäriel's friend Leradhir and the rest of the company to Amethäriel to ambush the cultists before they could do more damage to Tjlaria.

Clever Counsel and New Aquaintance

near Alsaperkunoz, 6th Vog, YT330

Once he was clear of his pursuers and had caught breath, Brimstone decided against returning to the cultist camp that night. Instead, he made for Sutsavanica, carefully avoiding the previous route. As he was nearing the edge of the forest, someone addressed Brimstone. "Hello earth-kin. What's your name? And what are you doing around here. You can call me Mr Ravasz''. Brimstone chatted for a while with the hidden 'Mr Ravasz' He found out that the camp was less than a fortnight old. He was also informed that the Vodnik from the local stream and the closest Lesovik has both disappeared in the same period. On leaving the forest Brimstone spotted four mounted figures and ducked back into cover. When they reached the forest path near to where he was hiding, a female voice spoke up. "You can come out earth-kin. We saw you before you noticed us. Our eyes are far keener than yours. My name is Amethäriel and these are my friends." Brimstone recognized the name. Voweslaw and  Gorran had both said something of their time working for this elven lady. Brimstone told the four something of what he had discovered. But it was not until he mentioned the disappearance of the jellegű helyszeszes that the lady Amethäriel began to look alarmed. "We will take you with us to Szutsavanica. We must speak with the Council magisters at once."

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Neither Hide nor Hair

Alsaperkunoz, 5th Vog, YT330
Brimstone had crawled along on all fours. His new amulet was carefully tucked into his tunic. He had offered to go alone to Alsaperkunoz and to sneak into the encampment. His companions were not entirely surprised as the earth-kin had already slipped away on nocturnal forays. With two dozen warriors and three ominously garbed mages in the camp it might well have been the last such mission. Brimstone was cautious and quiet. Unfortunately the creature that he knelt upon was neither. It howled in pain and ran up the nearest tree where it kept up an irate chattering for several minutes more. The guards were only a few steps away and they were moving towards the sound when one of them stumbled over Brimstone and raised the alarm. Too far away from the single campfire to be easily seen Brimstone struggled to free himself from under the bulky warrior. Others came closer, stabbing into the undergrowth as they searched for the diminutive spy. But just as he was about to be cornered, our small stealthy friend crawled away. Brimstone paused long enough to use the amulet to render himself invisible. Even if the guards used torches he could walk straight past them!
But the alarm had spread. As some warriors lit torches, a robed figure came into sight. He pointed straight at where Brimstone stood and shouted "Death to the earth-kin spy" As Brimstone moved away as quickly as possible, the would-be nemesis tried unsuccessfully to cast magic. Perhaps the difficult ground and the distraction of ordering the guards was the difference between Brimstone's escape and a hideous death. As he outdistanced the night-blind warriors, Brimstone planned to try once more.

A Place in Nature

Szutsavanica, 4th Vog, YT330
As soon as they arrived back in the town, Voltarr and the others went straight to the tower. Nicolai carefully unwrapped each of the artifacts as Voltarr explained the manner in which they were uncovered. The council gathered around and carefully examined each object. All were agreed that the items were connected with Jellegű Helyszeszes, the Tjlar spirits of nature. Creatures such as the Dedek, Ovinik, Bannik, Lesovik, Pokhovek, Bodinik and Vodnik which the Tjlar people had traditionally looked to for help with the running of homestead, field, wood or stream. Mother church had always been vigilant in case this should ever cross over into idolatry. But the helyszeszes themselves were still regarded as an innocent manifestation of nature.
Olorin picked up one cup and sniffed at it. He tried tasting the oily residue. Neither brought anything to mind and no-one else was willing to repeat the experiment. Vogyin spoke up. "I think that there are some stories  in the folk wisdom about Vodniki which feature porcelain cups but their significance is unclear." Another in the council pointed out that the 'doll' was far too fresh and green for the month of Vog.
Later the company discussed the items and the words of the Pokhovek of Szürkal and the Vakynur Lesovik. Gorran was certain that dark forces were seeking to corrupt Tjlaria by usurping the nature spirits.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Studying the Signs

Alszaperkunoz, 4th Vog, YT330
Because they arrived at sunrise the companions were easily able to locate the two outer stones of Voltarr's vision. But there were no robed figures and no visible curiosities. The two stones framed by the rising orb were examined carefully. They were covered in carvings. Some looked like the symbols daubed in Sutsavanica. The remainder looked like depictions of bizarre humanoid creatures with strange heads, misshaped limbs and smaller figures bowed down in front of each.
After studying these for hours, the group went back into the inner circle looking for tracks. Hamec finally found tracks of three figures moving from east to west and then turning north-east and heading into the forest.
Voltarr searched the inner circle and detected an attempt to hide freshly disturbed earth close to one of the stones. After careful excavation they found several curious items but neither of those in Gorran's vision.
  • A 'doll' or effigy made with yellow stalks of wheat still with ripe autumn grains.
  • Three porcelain cups, one with a blue pattern, all with oily marks near the handles.
  • A bronze shovel for coals or ash
  • Four wolves teeth, possibly from two animals
  • An empty crystal vial with a matching stopper
After looking closely at these Nicolai carefully wrapped and stowed each and the companions set off to follow the tracks into the forest.

Readying for Alszaperkunoz

The Tower, Szutsavanica, 3 Vog YT330
Voltarr had been muttering to himself for some time now. As he climbed the stair, Magister Vogyin spoke up from behind him. "You know Voltarr, I have read that phrase 'other ones' somewhere... Isn't it in the sayings of that old fraud Varbath-Matha... Yes. Stanza 212 if I'm not mistaken" Voltarr hurried to find a copy of the prophecies. Stanza 216 seemed more apposite to him, but Voltarr had learned to always pay careful attention to what Vogyin said.
A little later, while Nicolai, Olorin, Tolarr and Voweslaw were collecting supplies, Voltarr sat in a private chamber staring into his crystal. When it cleared he saw, as it were from a distance, two circles of stones on high ground in the midst of a forest and within the inner circle three robed figures. The figures were garbed in deep blue and midnight black but the night was over and the new sun rose between two of the outer stones.
As Voltarr used his crystal, Gorran was in the half-built chapel at his daily devotions. He too was gifted a vision. But Gorran saw at close hand a man holding  three curiosities. The cowl of his dark blue robes obscured his face but two of the three items were clearly visible: 
  • A fine white porcelain bottle with a crude stopper and black oily marks around the neck.
  • A metal trap of the size used for wolves (or sometimes men) rusted shut.
The third item was unclear but light flared from a polished surface.  
All of the companions apart from Brimsone left after dark and took the track into the silent forest towards Alszaperkunoz.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Merchant Cant - 3

The war in the north has spread again. Amber merchants arriving in the realm have reported that Wendland have attacked the Kylfings on the pretext of an alleged slight to the royal house of the Wends. The campaign has by all accounts not gone well for Wendland. The massive Wendish army has been struggling in the harsh conditions. The Wendish Viowode Wroclaw is reported to have told the King that the Kylfings can appear and disappear 'like ghosts'. Of course the merchants all believe that this is just pagan superstition.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A Frustration of Wizards

Szutsavanica, 3rd Vog, YT330

Brimstone and Olorin had been particularly suspicious of the stranger. Most of the rest had been cautious of the young mage after talking with him but these two suspected duplicity from the start. He said that he had been travelling on his own back to Szutsavanica and had rushed to catch up. A lone traveller might seek the company and extra security of a large group. But others had tried to spy on them before in much the same way.

The huge stone tower of the Council of Szutsavanica, topped with a perpetual flame, was an impressive sight. The new town which was being built around it was still mostly timber frames and canvas shelters but the bustle of commerce was there already. The busy town seemed at odds with the magisterial edifice at it's center. Like a tall heron mobbed by noisy sparrows.

When they were shown up to the council chamber, Gorran stayed behind in the 'tavern' with their new companion. He did seem reluctant to enter the tower but excused himself saying that he was too lowly to merit the attention of the Council members. Their suspicions were confirmed a few minutes later when he vanished from a spot a few feet in front of Gorran.

The Council of Szutsavanica were all in the council chamber when Voltarr and his companions entered. Fifteen of the most auspicious and respected men and women in the realm paused in their discussion as the group were presented. Waiting for the first chance to speak Voltarr mentioned their new companion and asked the Council to confirm his identity. Since the Council did not then have any roll of acolytes this might have taken some time and some of the council were keen that Voltarr concentrated on investigating the glyphs first. It was all rendered moot by the disappearance of the spy before the Council could reach agreement. When Gorran arrived with the news the council rushed out and up to the top of the tower. From there they were able to use their talents to see what was hidden from others. The villain was descried fleeing northwards.

The discussion on Voltarr's task resumed. And continued for some time. Finally, the council agreed that the following actions were resolved:

  • Delegates from the guilds currently present in the town must be selected to present petitions for improving the good order of the town until other laws and corporations are enacted.
  • In specific of which the merchants are permitted to form from their own hired men an interim town watch and use such for patrolling the streets.
  • Voltarr must investigate the glyphs and signs appearing in the town and the possible connection to the stone circle which in olden times was called Alszaperkunoz with utmost urgency. If any assistance is necessary then this should be submitted to Council expeditiously by Voltarr. 

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

What Stirs the Creatures in the Wildwood?

Vakynur, Torun - St Kuthoy road, 28th Dyarr YT330
The wolf pack had been shadowing their move for some hours. Although the forest either side of the road was dense enough that they were rarely seen, everyone was tense. The pack was large enough to be dangerous if they attacked. Even if nothing worse was present. And the memory of what had happened to the merchants was still fresh.  Voltarr was also thinking about his summons to the council. The wolves were distracting him. He needed peace to plan how he would investigate matters at Szutsavanica. When the boldest she-wolf got a few ells closer than before he sent out a bolt of flame that drove her back and set fire to a holly bush. The wolves seemed stung by the treatment of their pack member. Deep gutteral threatening sounds came from all sides. The group continued on. In spite of the season, the fire began to spread a little.

Then they spotted a figure hunched up in the road a bowshot ahead. As they got closer it appeared to be an old man. But when they pulled up in front of him, the old man began to rise. And as his limbs unfolded they realised that he was more than six ells tall. But even more striking than that, his limbs were thin and his fingers were like twisted spindles. His face was almost completely covered in a moss of beard. But two piercing eyes peered out and a voice that was equally penetrating spoke directly at Voltarr, berating him for his rash actions.

To placate the old man of the forest the comrades backtracked to the holly bush and extinguished the fire in and around it. This done he seemed more communicative. He spoke of others who threatened his forest. Others not of the Realm. Others to the west - the direction Voltarr and the others were headed. Olorin remembered the words of Thomäs Surka. The Leshonoi and Pokhoi  although separated by many leagues were apparently both being troubled by similar causes.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Aspects of Dying

Eastern crown lands, 25th Dyarr YT330
Six days after leaving Gylwics, Tolarr was travelling along the road perched on his cart. The rest were riding alongside. They had agreed to accompany Voltarr eastward, so after heading south to Korzow via Komiro they had taken the road towards St Kuthoy. Olorin was considering a swift visit to the torpek lands and Aegnor Gora. While Tolarr might otherwise look forward to this he could still not get to grips with his recent troubling visions. Others spotted the buzzards before he did. They hurried to the spot and found four merchants, their horses and packs lying close together near to the road. The horses were all dead. Savaged by some fell beast. Two of the male merchants were already dead. Weapons had been drawn but clearly to no avail. The other merchants, a husband and wife, were still alive. As Tolarr approached, he felt their agony as if it were his own. They were dying! Father Nicolai, Voltarr and the others rushed forward to provide what healing they could. It was barely enough to prevent them dying on the scene. Once they were no longer in immediate peril, Tolarr began to feel better. Putting the injured couple on Tolarr's cart they made haste to the next village and left them with the landlord of the Packmans House. Tolarr wondered if he would be affected like this the next time they were around death. He had always been calm around death before. It had always seemed natural, even familiar.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Merchant Cant - 2

Eastern Karbath, 20th Dyarr YT330
A dying merchant was discovered in the foothills north of Astergow. He had a fortune in unpolished gemstones on him but no food. His clothing was ripped in several places and he had many wounds. The wounds looked like bites and clawmarks, perhaps a week old. Local healers were unable to help him and he expired before they could get him to the nearest monastic infirmary. But the villagers did hear his last few words and passed them on to the monks. The placename 'Vlesdawa' was clear. Although not marked on any Tylar maps it was still a terrifying name to the ordinary folk. The second word 'dacian' was not familiar to them. The last few gasped breaths may have also been a name - 'Dameni Hnufa'.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Preparing for a New Sojourn

Gylwics 19th Dyarr YT330
Voltarr received the summons when he arrived back at the Old Wall Inn. The Council had decided that Voltarr was the person to get to the root of the curious nocturnal marks. He was ordered to report to the Council at the tower of Szutsavanica immediately. Since this involved several days travel east, Voltarr persuaded his companions to leave Gylwics with him the next day.
The marks were three horizontal lines with other lines branching up and down. Voltarr consulted the house of his order in Gylwics. Someone suggested that the writing was some old Kolloth script. Since Szutsavanica bordered on the Czar's new lands of Stajerska and Korska, this seemed likely. These lands were the larger part of the old Alban province which had once been the homeland of Tylaria's Kolloth inhabitants.
Their contact from the Loyal Aurdun of Fyhar Gora arrived secretly that night and after examining Olorin, Tolarr and Voltarr, agreed that they should all leave with Voltarr. The church militant and the Borsonin's men prepared to search beneath the old keep in response to the reports of Olorin, Nicolai and the others.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A Changed Torpek?

Tolarr found himself back in the common of the Old Wall inn. He was still trying to make sense of what he had just experienced. He did not hear the crash of plates and tankards hitting the floor in the adjacent passage-way. Nor did he see the astonished look on the serving maid who had just dropped her tray.
It quickly occured to her that she might have difficulty explaining this to old Balasc. Torpek 'blinking' into existence was not normal, even one belonging to that strange group of 'prospectors'. If he took this out of her pay it would be a really bad week. She considered asking the Torpek to pay once she had mustered enough courage.
Tolarr was not sure what had happened to him. Something was different. He planned to tell the rest about the warning to them all but he needed time to consider that which concened him alone.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Merchant Cant - 1

Karbath Mountains, YT330
Recent merchant caravans from the lands of the Kogotoi have been reporting numerous sightings of lycanthropes in the distance. Authorities have been trying to reassure the traders: "None of these sightings has been connected with attacks."; "The creatures range widely in the Karbath mountains and the same creature is often sighted several times by different travellers."; "Daous are sometimes responsible for false sightings in that region of the mountains." If all the sightings were true it would amount to dozens or even hundreds more of these beasts than anyone is prepared to admit to. That or the equally terrifying thought that the lycanthorpes were gathering together in one place.