Emma, Session 6

3rd day of the 3rd ride, month 6 , 1262

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, it is said. I might well agree. Sedna tested me and I think I passed the test. My heart is lighter and my body is pure again. I feel more … alive, more .. whole and wholesome. I have become stronger. And my connection to the Mistress has become deeper.

No longer the need to fear the Father or the Flame. So how did this come about? Let’s recall where we left off:

We have become a large group. Five Lyrian Knight. The five of us, including Marcus. Four Orcs. The Dwarven engineer Brandomir. The Sheridan guardsman Bartosz, and the unconscious James. We are still standing at the portal. A rip in the fabric of reality, if  I’m to believe Luca. He is starting to look worse for wear. Was he afflicted like I was by the foul albino? Whatever is the case, we need to get out of here. We are all tired, low on provisions, and without a clear plan of escape.

We quickly agree to head back to the room with the well, where we went toe-to-toe with the giant rat-beast. There we would rest before we would clear the collapse from the tunnel through which we initially entered that room. It’s perhaps not the most elegant plan, but it is the best we’ve got.
We also agreed that we should try and collapse this very room, the one with the portal. I tried to discuss the technical details with Brandomir, but his mind was clearly bent on using blasting powder. While I was talking with Brandomir, I noticed that the Orcs were shuffling uncomfortably. After a while I asked Korath what was on their mind, and he pointed us to a room where the gnomish rats had stockpiled their own blasting powder. Brandomir lamented the poor quality of the powder, but conceded that it would suffice to collapse the room.

I am a warden against the flame. Using fire to collapse the room felt unnatural to me so I preferred to try and use ice first. To achieve this I worked closely with Emrys. While I called upon Sedna to produce a good amount of water in a particularly unstable looking fissure in the ceiling, Emrys immediately used his magic to freeze it in place. The water expanded and worked like wedge to open the fissure.
The attempt was not a failure. Emrys and I managed to destabilize the fissure and to cause a large collapse. Unfortunately the collapse remained local and did not trigger the other parts of the ceiling to come down as well. It seems that Sedna is content to have Brandomir have his way.

Preparing the powder would take time. I asked Marcus to bring most of the knights and our gear to the room with the well so that they might organize a camp of sorts for us to rest in. The rest of us helped Luca and Brandomir to set up the powder. The powder seems to have peaked Luca’s interest.

All the while Sir Arman was standing guard and approached me. He asked me if I was willing to accept the blessings of the Platinum Lord to lift the ailment that was consuming me. I urged him to heal Luca instead but he proved unwilling to do so. He found my soul to be ‘pure and good’, suggesting that Luca’s is not. Very … interesting. I did not press the matter but rather surrendered to the mercy of the Lord of Light.
I can’t say it was a wholly pleasant experience, but the final result was a great relief. I feel so much lighter and cleaner now that the accursed affliction is gone. A much more pleasant tiredness washes over me. Sedna be praised!

When the powder was placed to the best of our ability Luca was granted the ‘honor’ of applying the fire. We evacuated the gallery and a short while later there was a succession of three low rumbling booms. The blasting-powder exploded violently and collapsed the room. Soon enough there was a cloud of dust and minor debris that washed over us. The filth of fire. It was successful however. The room with the portal is no more.

We retired to the room with the well and made ourselves as comfortable as we could after we shared some of our last food with the Orcs and the Knights. The Knights took turns to guard the remaining entrance to this room. I went to sleep, like most of us did.

4th day of the 3rd ride, month 6 , 1262

After what I assume might have been a night’s rest we wake up in the room with the well. The ‘night’ passed without incident. After breaking our fast Brandomir and the Orcs set to work on the collapse. Brandomir assures us that it will be a matter of a few hours. I chip in a few times, but I can hardly improve the efficiency with which the Orcs are handling the task.

Emrys strikes up a conversation with the Knights . The conversation quickly turns to the ‘Skaven’ and the fact that we have seemingly disabled the source of the threat. The Knights appear to be puzzled about the purpose of the gnomish rats. We filled them in. I was under the impression they were looking for a single specific artefact related to the Senhadrim. I was mistaken, it is about a dozens of artefacts.  Weapons all. We may well have recovered four of these.

Have I laid claim to an ancient artefact of the Father? Did Sedna guide my hand?

We talked some more about the Lyrian Knights and the Senhadrim. It seems that the Knights still teach a lot of lore regarding the time of the Conjunction, but that it is not necessarily wholly believed. The Knights appeared genuinely in awe about the nature of these tunnels, as well as the revelation that we uncovered mural depictions of the early Lyrian Knights and the Senhadrim.

We agreed with the Knights that we would do all we could to have the Orcs return safely to their homeland. There was some discussion about prejudices and about how these came about and are reinforced.
I can’t say that I am immune to such baser instincts. But when it comes to the Orcs I simply made a promise that I will try to honor to the best of my ability. They have been faithful to their promises to us, betraying them would bring dishonor to us all. It seems the Knights think along the same line.

One has to wonder, why do we call the Orcs savages? Is it their behavior we judge? Or is it because they inspire savageness in ourselves?

The passage was cleared without incident and we proceeded towards the exit, relying for a good part on the markers I had left. We paused at the room where we first encountered the gnomish rats and allowed the Knights to examine the murals. We then proceeded to the exit without incident.

When we were hoisted out of the well one by one each of us was given a warm, if not outright heroic welcome. The mood shifted dramatically when the Orcs appeared. The common folk were afraid. The nobles worried. This will not be easy to resolve, but resolve it we must. One way or another. For now we’ve quartered the Orcs in the stables.

James remained unconscious throughout. This is not normal. Should I investigate? Perhaps I should discuss the matter with Luca?

We returned to the Sheridan Estate somewhere in the early afternoon. We were invited to join the Lords for a feast in the mansion in the evening, leaving our afternoon free.
I desperately wanted to wash myself in the river Lynn and suggested that Luca do the same. I feel that I can rinse his body and release the affliction from it. With nothing better to do, Astrid and Emrys decided to join us.
We had a pleasant sunny walk down from the estate and my mood picked up rapidly in the open air and the warm glow of the sun, and more importantly, all the vibrant life around us. I started humming hymns of praise to Sedna. A few of the simpler ones I managed to retain from my ‘tenure’ at the Bains Lyriènnes. To my surprise the Senhadrim Trident started to resonate. Was it mimicking the hymns? Is the artefact tuning to my spirit? Praise Sedna!

Once at the river I quickly stripped down and went for a glorious swim. Emrys rested himself in the shadow of a tree, where he started to leisurely examine the slender Senhadrim sword. Astrid started chucking stones at things and otherwise tried to avoid boredom. Luca stood at the water’s edge … a little forlorn.
I urged him to strip down as well and to join me in the water. He is a weedy little man, and undressing here and now clearly made him uncomfortable. After some gentle coaxing form my side, and much less gentle coaxing from Astrid, Luca joined me in the river. I floated him in front of me and started to rinse every individual body part with a cloth, all the while reciting prayers begging Sedna to release the corruption from this one’s body.
I could feel it had worked. He was still a weedy man when I released him, but his complexion was slightly more vibrant, and his gait a little less cumbersome.

We lounged at the river’s edge for a little while, becoming a bit of an attraction for the local villagers. But then we had to retire to the Estate and join the Lords for their feast.

Back at the Estate we noticed that there was also a feast being prepared for the household servants. Luca and I went over to procure good food for the Orcs. This was met with some stern and disapproving looks, but we persisted and compelled the guards at the stables to let us in. Korath and his mates were most happy with the food.
The Orcs had been disarmed, but had improvised a number of weapons. I can understand. All the same, I urged Korath to try and hide the weapons and avoid any provocations. Korath is thankful and seems to trust me, but also warned that they will no longer be a prisoners. There is a limit to where we can keep them holed up here.

The feast was sumptuous. The kind reserved to the higher ranks at the Bains Lyriènnes, not us lowly acolytes. Then again, I’m not now an acolyte of that respectable establishment. No, I’m in the presence of Lyrian Knights and the Lords Sheridan.
I sat myself close to the dwarf to gauge the degree to which he was mourning the loss of his comrades. This was clearly not on his mind in any way. It made me regret less the fact that we passed by his fallen brother in the tunnels without informing him. I sat back in quiet enjoyment while the dwarf sucked up all the attention in the room with his loutish behavior.

The conversation turned serious. We discussed the matter of the Orcs and I pressed Lord Jonathan that it is important to me that they are treated fairly and that every attempt should be made for them to be allowed to return to Kaedwyn. I would consider fulfilled the promise made by Lord Markus to ‘assist in one’s personal ambitions’.
Lord Jonathan was hesitant to commit, since he saw many difficulties with the task. Eventually this line in the conversation bled dry without much being resolved. We will have to return to this topic at some point. Let’s hear what my companions think.

Lord Jonathan then proposed another task. He wants us to find his middle brother, the mage: Lord Destin Sheridan. He hasn’t been heard from in several weeks. He was in the Silverpine Hills near a few small villages chasing a legend: The Crimson Tower. I noticed Luca’s interest being peaked. All I seem to recall is that it was located on a lake, but I don’t recall any details. Isn’t it just an expression: ‘Sank (in the lake) like the Crimson Tower’ meaning that something was dropped in the water an now lost forever?
At any rate, the Sheridans want their brother home in light of the recent events near the estate. They want to send some people they can trust, but not any of their guardsmen. I’m honored that they would trust us so. We have things to discuss.

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