Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Sorsha's tale

     In the morning the hidden shelter has turned into an icy snow cave, and the flakes keep drifting down through a lead gray sky. Cawyn makes contact with a small, blackwinged sparrow that informs him the lizardmen live far to the west, in the heart of the Murk near something called the Underfalls. He also tells them that a group of webfoots live nearby, and that they are sad.

     In exchange for a a handfull of crumbs the bird agrees to fly into the mission camp and then to the home of the webfoots. Cawyn casts another spell, this time sharing the sparrow's mind and senses.

     First it flies to the mission house. There is nothing in the yard, but inside it spies the dead warrior's arms being lifted and draped into funereal position as a woman's soft voice sings a sad, Syvani song. Cawyn is desperate for more information, but he's only a passenger, and the little bird doesn't linger.

     It quickly flies out the door and zips through the trees, heading south on a circuitous route across the frozen bogs before eventually coming to another great Tangled island, much like the Bloodroot's. But where the old Willow's demesne was dark and mostly dead, this one seems to have somehow survived the cold better.

     The ice seems thinner and a narrow, open waterway can be seen disappearing into it's depths. As the sparrow briefly rests in the branches of a bog pine, Cawyn can make out two attentive looking Draci warriors apparently keeping watch. Feeling that it's mission is over, and longing for more crumbs, the sparrow zips back across the bog, returning to Cawyn's promised treats in just over a quarter candle.

     The party decides it is crucial to return to the mission house to discover the identity of the invisible singer. While the rest wait at the willow switch fence, Calder sneaks back into the house. After careful observation he finds the woman in the side room. Though she is still invisible, he can hear her rooting around, and by the sounds of muffled coughing, she's sick.

     Deciding to chance it, he reveals his presence. After a tense moment, she in turn drops her veil and he sees that she is a fevered, blinded and starving Kirith-Syvani woman in a ragged cloak and dirty leather armor. She passes out and he brings her to Cawyn.

     Over the next half candle the party converges in the main room of the mission house and administers healing to the woman. Though Cawyn's magic is enough to bring the fever down, he can do nothing for her ice damaged eyes beyond clean and dress the wounds in new bandages, and only rest and food will fix her other ills. With gentle prodding, she does wake long enough to give her name, Sorsha, and warn that Draci scouts have been checking the place on a regular basis. She points out the secret chamber under the house where she has been hiding. Once Snap removes all sign of their recent activities, they all hunker in the underground room while Sorsha relates her story.

     "I am part of a secret organization whose purpose is to prevent planar threats. Brother Seohane reported such a threat might exist here. I was sent to find him or his ledgers, and from him and them, to ascertain the threat level and either eliminate it, or bring back more detailed information."

     "Billings our scout died on the ice when the draci ambushed us from beneath. Grisham, Doolin, Caplan and I fled toward the camp and were surrounded. That's when the dragonborn showed up on his wyvern. Caplan surrendered. When the rest didn't, he was executed and they all came at us.

     "During the fight, I veiled and tried to get the drop on their leader. He brought down icy hell and blinded me. I kept my veil going, I don't know how. Made it outside and listened to my friends, to Doolin... slaughtered. I stood there among them, waiting for one of them to hear me, smell me, hells, just run into me. They didn't. I was blind witness to the death of my friends."

     She notes she thinks she heard the draci warriors refer to the dragonborn as General Shard. Sorsha is much relieved to find that the party has her journal instead of the enemy, and she hands them another booklet, which turns out to be Brother Seohane's journal that she found in the secret chamber, and was of course unable to read.

The Journal of Brother Seohane

     The whole of this journal is couched in vague terms and explanations, which apparently only make sense if you know the specific events and subjects to which they refer.

     Many earlier entries talk of his mission for the Brotherhood to discover the outworld source somewhere in the murk.

     At one point he writes that he considered mentioning his mission to Bishop Doyle but decided against it fearing that the bishop would not like his ulterior motives for being in the camp.

A middle entry:

     Three weeks in Camp and I haven't had a chance to investigate deeper into the Murk. I am hoping to have a chance on a Hunting Expedition this week to do a little investigating. The cold has progressed a little more every season according to the locals in Mudton. It is hard to understand how these creatures, normally used to far less ice and snow, are adapting so well.

A later entry:

     I had my first encounter with a draci Scout the other day. He was by himself but still menaced me to the point that I thought I was going to have to defend myself. Thankfully a small show of magic was enough to send him scurrying. Before he departed I had a chance to notice he carried a bit of magic himself. I wasn't able to determine its source beyond it planar nature, but just knowing its presence, leads me to believe the draci are somehow involved.

     There are several entries talking about the woag. Speaking of how they keep shyly coming around the camp. "If I could pick their brain concerning the interior, I'm sure they could tell me much about an outworld influence."

     At one point, Harrick brings up the sword, and is told quite clearly that Doolin would have wished the weapon be employed against the draci. Sorsha says it's name is Winter's Scourge and it's activation phrase is "Ní mór an banríon gheimhridh bás" - The winter queen must die.

     The plan is to send Calder's mechanical bird to Lady Sariah's, asking her to aid Sorsha.

     Not long after that, they all hear something or someone rummaging in the room above. The noise eventually fades. Calder scouts it out and the others follow. The main building appears empty. Cawyn goes out the back door and finds that many Draci warriors are approaching through the trees. A wyvern cries from above and he is attacked once more with spellfire. The battle is joined. Shots are fired and McFall is wounded too. Eagles are summoned to harass the wyvern rider.

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