When last we left our heroes and WSF, we five emerged, stumbling from the crumbling, ancient temple of Yelmalio where we had slain the master vampire that had been haunting this entire country. We found sign he was working for another of their dark breed, but found no sign of that one. We presume our missing irreplaceables were given to it in tribute.
We came upon some guards, and we killed them captured the leader of the folks who poisoned us. He had been working for the vampire unwillingly and was very repentent. He almost died when he showed WSF the head of Ubutu, his loyal wolf companion, but after some mystical futsing about it was determined that WSF could not sacrifice this dudes’ power to re-bind Ubutu to WSF because reasons, so after the group assessed that he wasn’t faking his contrition, we decided to let him live. Honestly, WSF was going to kill him anyway, but failed a 78% beast rune check vs a 60% honor. (Grom would say succeeded an honor one, but he’s a drooling idiot.)
Speaking of which, Darvan Whitetail, a duck of the Laughing god Humankt, had decided to accompany us after we freed him from his cell two days ago, as had a Vingan Warrioress (Ura?) who sought and found the love that shall not be named, but her beloved had been sucked dry into a husk in the vampire’s
larder. Both the duck and the vingan had both proven valuable allies. Grom had emerged from the vampire’s larder a drooling idiot, even worse than when he entered if you can believe this! He could be led, but lost all sense of self or thought. We resolved to bring him the the Healing Temple at the Sun Dome to see if they could bring him back to us. Grom was essentially a zombie for all intents and purposes, and I had been using him for such things as he was useful at, such as carrying heavy loads. I was pondering how to strap a sledge tripod to him to assist in carrying some of the various loot left in the prison’s storage room when Darvan, a fellow worshipper of the god of Unintended Consequences and Related Idiocy, thought I was being somehow improper with an honored Deaf Lord or something. Probably after I had considered
that he would soil himself and decided to dare to take of Grom’s trousers as an act of practicality and preservation of his leg armor, as I am sure he’d wish me to do. I was perhaps being a bit rough with use of Grom in these things, but I had other things on my mind! Ubutu was dead, wandering the spirit world, and Soul of Jhaldon and the Spirit of the Beggar King were unknowingly in the hands of a Monster! But Darvan politely asked if he could take over the care of my dear friend the Grom-Zombie, that it would be his honor as a fellow Joke Lord, so I accepted. The funniest part was when Darvan agreed with my solution to the preservation of leg armor issue and removed Grom’s pants so I did not have to! I can’t wait to tell Grom a duck was touching his junk. Well, I actually didn’t wait, I said “Hey Darvan, watch touching his junk! You never know where that’s been!” Hardy har, I crack myself up. But Darvan plucked some feathers and made a feather skirt of sorts, for Grom’s modesty. Waste of good feathers I say, but hey, maybe as much as I make fun of him, Humakt may actually have a sense of humor! Amazing thought, that…
So anyway, we decided to set off back to the Sun Dome, but as we got to the gate, we realized that we had been so beaten up when we retreated from the vampire’s larder that we hadn’t really searched the area well, and that further, while we had brought up the corpse of the Vingan’s Lover-jerky and put her on her way to Orlanth in a blazing pyre, we had left many corpses down in that hole. Though we were tired and in need of healing, we entered back into the temple the secret way, and while Sorala studied the writings on the walls of the main temple, guarded by the Vingan, the rest of our troupe (Xaraya, Darvan,
Grom-Zombie, WSF, and the Penitant Yelmaliite) proceeded down to the Larder once again.
Previously, we had found a crack in the floor of the larder that the vampire had emerged from. He had come out in mist form and picked up weapons. For armor he had runes painted on his skin, some sorcery I think, but Xaraya would know more. I forget it there was actually real armor at all. In any case, he was ash now. I am pretty sure we took the items left on him, but apparently it was nothing memorable. We cut down the many corpses as laid them out near the base of the stairs, where Darvan and Grom-Zombie faithfully marched them up the stairs (a LONG way up) to set up a funeral pyre. I believe it was in the main temple in a space set aside for such things. As they did that, Xaraya and I took our time to search every inch of that basement larder, trying to find a way to the other end of hat crack. We were thinking that if he took our items, he couldn’t have brought them down that way, so there would have to be another way!
Sadly, after much searching, we found nothing but some buried holy items
from the time the temple was active. It was some holy artifact to Yelm or Yelmalio or somesuch. Probably valuable to them, Xaraya says! Maybe, but then why was it buried here I say? I suspect it will cause us more trouble than it is worth. But at least Sorala might glean something useful from it. She had learned something profound from the writings up above, so she was our best bet at knowledge that might be of use.
That night, after we had prepared the corpses and set a blaze, I walked the spirit realm looking for any trace of our lost items or the other vampire, but I was so mentally drained from the days work that I could not focus, and it appeared that the luck that I had relied upon had failed me, again. I often said in my youth that if I didn’t have bad luck I’d have no luck at all, but Nemeliopi had changed that, but she appears to be forsaking me… Now, I dig deep, and reach for the luck with my magic. Fortunately, I feel a response as the magic flows from me, but it seems… weaker. I could not succeed to save my life, on
anything I tried. I must find out why my gifted power is weakening… I shall add that to my list! I saw Grom-Zombie’s shield flare to life in its golden glory in our battle with the vampire, and I have seen Xaraya’s gift active as well. Am I… misusing the gift? Or does it need… more sacrifice? I know not. I shall seek answers to this, but first we must find my necklace… it could be tragic if they realize what they have. Fortunately, no vampire should be able to control such mighty spirits… or at least I could not when I tried with the beggar king. So if they do try, they may have a surprise coming! I awoke in the morning with at least that spring in my step, though I am still troubled. I need that necklace! Jhaldon must arise at the appointed time! It is my… Density.
So headed up and rested, we headed back out of the temple. The Penitant One mentioned that there was a door that was closed nearby that they had not been able to break in to. We were intrigued, and went to see it. The door was sturdy and well sealed, but we managed to get it open. Therein was a vast library, pristine condition, and a small lamp on a table with a corpse of a librarian-priest who had been entombed here with his books. There was a spirit there, and I hailed it, but it was the remains of the spirit of the priest, and in death he protected these books, so to take any, we would have to defeat this guardian. I
studied it carefully. It seemed as powerful as I, yet I thought I had the advantage, as I was mostly full mana and… well, honestly, I wanted to rend and tear at something ever since I learned Ubutu was gone, and this was my chance. I walked to the corpse and disturbed it, knowing the spirit would attack at my insolence. I could take this thing. I was a Warrior of the Spirit, notwithstanding the horrible beating CritRaya gave me last fight, and I should easily dispatch this spirit back to its realm. I’d be doing it a favor, really. We fought, and traded blows a few times, but I could not hit! I tried more, pushing more magic into my luck, and eventually I landed a heavy blow. I was sure one more would win me this bout. Then, it hit me, and I realized how wrong I was… it was a WRAITH, and not only a wraith, but one that drained the mind! It
critically hit, sliding into my soul and leaving the cold stillness of the grave. I remember little after that, except the gleam of burning dark eyes, ephemeral claws scarring through my thoughts, and the glimmer of the death and life rune merged on the substance of the spirit-beast! I feared my fate was to be that of Grom, but I managed to croak out the words to Xaraya, who was watching the battle pensively, shocked at the sudden drain of color from my face and the collapse of my body to the floor: “Wrrrraaaitthhhh…aaaaiiiyyeee” Thinking quickly, Xaraya pulled the golden-hued dagger that we had found in the
temple… a holy relic of some sort, and plunged it into the wraith! Of course she crit it and it dissipated. I found myself on the floor, shocked, reverted to the mentality of a wolf. Eventually, I recovered enough to stand, but my thoughts would not come. I still knew I was me, and could move and think, but it was sluggish. A revelation: This is how Grom must feel all the time! I pity him,
except, now, I pity myself. But at least we survived. And as long as there is life, there is hope. I recovered from my last fight with a health wraith, I shall survive my defeat by a mind wraith. Live and learn.
Sorala barely noticed my afflication, as she went immediately to the books. She and Xaraya recovered many ancient tomes, some particularly valuable they said. They were mostly in firespeech, so Sorala and the Penitant One had to triage what we could carry, but in the end, we had a good haul, including a lamp of some kind with a spirit in it, and we re-sealed the library as best we could with all our skills, and headed back to the Sun Dome. There were many buildings yet to be explored, but since both Grom-Zombie and I were essentially liabilities, we needed to visit the Chalona Arroy temple badly, and we needed to report the vampire’s slaying and the finds at the temple.
Amusingly, Grom-Zombie could not ride a horse (WaHAAAA knows the annoying god he worships probably has some stricture against using horses on Claydays and Deathdays anyway), so Darvan simply strapped Grom-Zombie onto the back of a horse like a riding blanket… well, a riding blanket with a Sartar-runed ass up and covered with feathers out one side! HAHAHHAHA. Oooo, he’s gonna be sore! I really need to take up painting.
Along the way, we passed a mound in the earth far out in the fields in the brush. Investigating, we found it was a stone slab with carvings depicting the Storm Bull. We could tell nothing more about it, and we thought better of trying to pull the slab up to see what was under it, since the Storm Bull sometimes sets BAD THINGS entombed in the earth. We will have to mark where
it is and come back later.
We eventually made it back to the Sun Dome, where we were greeted as heroes. After shouts of joy at hearing we had slain the vampire, there was muttered silence as they saw Grom-Zombie’s condition. They hustled Grom-Zombie and myself to the healers, where they assessed our wounds were great indeed, but could be healed. Judging that the price of a Pacifist wouldn’t be too hard to bear, we agreed to do a few services for the Chalona Arroy cult, and were released. The treasures we brought back put us in good esteem with the local Yelmalio cult, and our slaying of the vampire and uncovering of the treachery of the Penitant One was so valuable that we told we (even I) would always be welcome in this city and county, and that there woulg be a great feast!
Then, in the middle of the feast, some Ex-Lunar General popped in and joined us. He challenged the Count to a duel for rulership of this place. He Ex-Lunar slew the Count the next day, then our friend the Vingan disappeared suspiciously as our Lunar Sympathizer general was slain in his sleep. Good for her! Then there was a civil war with a Count’s Captain of the Guard and the
Count’s Ex-Wife Yelmalio Priestess. After a great oratory battle, the Ex-Wife ceded control to the Captain to avoid bloodshed and preserve the strength of the city. In talking afterwards, Grom the Tired heard the Captain talk about considering allying with the Lunars, and further the Captain said some disrespectful words on Queen Skye and her rebellion. Grom promptly and
without thinking (no excuse this time) challenged the Captain, and the next day the fought. As weak as Grom was in the power of his Lawbound god, he had to accept the terms of battle, and without god-power, he had to fight with mere mortal strength, and with a spear no less! However, while being beaten easily without his sword tranciness and his rune power, stabbed his spear straight through the Captains eye in a spectacular feat of luck! (damn, maybe that’s where all my luck has gone!) Grom made a statement that the city would not ally with the Lunars, and then gave the city leadership to the Ex-Wife of the Count.
We stayed in the city for the next couple weeks until the end of Earth Season, recovering. I spent most of my time in the spirit world hunting chaos spirits to maintain my bargain with Cleansing Rain, and trying to find any trace of our lost items or the other vampire, but to no avail (my luck fails me yet again). Xaraya and Sorala spent their time in the library with the books they brought back. The treasures too were given over I believe, though not sure if Xaraya kept that dagger. I have no idea how Grom spent his weeks after that, but I assume it was getting the city in order with Ex-Wife of the Count. I do know he wanted us to finish searching the old temple for the other vampire (and our missing things), but we were denied permission by the Chief Priest of Yelmalio in the Sun Dome. He said he would reconsider our request if more vampire attacks happened, or if we continued to do great services for the cult. Grom warned him that while he would honor his request, others would not, and that they should send a force to secure the place. But he cautioned that they ought not set foot inside the buildings there without serious support, as we had trouble handling what was therein and if we had trouble, they may be wiped out, not to mention what will happen if the other vampire comes back looking for his compatriot. The Priest said he would think about it, and in the meantime, he has learned a lot from our latest finds, and asked us to check into a tower of Solinthor the Poet, whose book we had brought back to him, as it had clues to where the tower (or its remains) were to be found. This was actually one of the spirits that I was asked to look for by the Chief Priest of the Yelmalio Temple
in Prax, so I was happy to oblige. Sorala for her part was offered a place on the research team here at the Sun Dome Library, so she’ll be staying here for now, but they are sending another young LM sage with us that Sorala was working with. We don’t have her story yet, but she knows Firespeech and this area of Sun County well, and should do as long as Sorala cares to stay here and
not take the chance to be eaten by vampires or Krashkid or Gorp for a while.
Ultimately, we set out towards the Tower of Selinthor the Poet, the Fortunate Five: Xaraya, Grom-Non-Zombie, WSF, Darvin, and the new LM sage.
Along the way, WSF plans to spend every other night in ritual spirit walking to find the trail of his necklace, Grom’s Sword, and Xaraya’s fufadefah). As we get to the nearest point to where we were poisoned, he’ll take one spirit walk to try
to find Ubutu once again, though he really doesn’t have the 3 POW to spend to pact with him again. Maybe some of the binding or comradeship still exists? We shall see. At the very least, he’d like to hear the story of the battle Ubutu gave. Hey, maybe Ubutu hung around long enough to see what happened to our stuff? Doesn’t hurt to ask I suppose. We shall see.
… And thus closes another chapter in the Chronicles of Winter Sky Falling, Herald of the Lucky Star, Master of the Hunt, and The Wandering Wolf of Prax./emote Jerbu voice from behind the scenes: There are no wolves in Prax!