1th day of the 1st ride of Summer-Flame , 1262
While breaking fast at the River Stone we divided the remaining tasks. Emrys was still fast asleep from a late night at the Golden Cockatrice. Luca and I would return to the Bournemouth Academy library for further inquiries. Astrid would arrange for a river-barge to take us upstream and sell the horses and the cart. We will have to acquire a beast of burden at Blackbridge. James pledged himself to a day of debauchery.
At the library I took a few directions from Falka and in so doing was quite successful in my inquiries. I found a fair few things about Admiral Karadim and his legend. I had brought Muirgheal along to see how it … he … she … would respond, but nothing too exciting happened. He murmured the same melody from before. Well, at least I appear to have recovered the right legend, but some things don’t sit straight. How come an artifact so ancient is knowledgeable of a legend that is considerably more recent?
I had hoped to come to know Muirgheal better through my researches but I come away with more questions instead. Most of these seem to lead away from the common goal I share with my travelling companions: follow in the step of Lord Destan and find the now somewhat less mythical Crimson Tower.
I will have to try and learn more about Muirgheal in another way. I have difficulty understanding the nature of him … her … it. There is power there, but to what end, and at what cost? Luca’s researches have shed only a little light on the matter, but what it revealed was troublesome enough. It seems that Muirgheal was a person at some point whose essence was imbued into the weapon by some bizarre arcane ritual.
While I was wrapping up Luca entered my study-room. He wanted me to join him and talk to the Margravin. She appeared to be studying things of interest to us. It seemed Luca was a little worried that he might reveal too much. Or perhaps he preferred me to make the mistakes for him.
We ended up with a fairly interesting discussion. The Margravin was investigating the ‘Skaven’ but two other types of creatures as well: dog-headed ones and bull-headed ones. These were all sighted throughout the Dærlan Empire.
We revealed that we were in fact eye-witnesses of the gnomish rats and provided her with some imagery. We explained that there is a connection to the Time of Fear and that if she were to focus her inquiries into that direction that she was likely to be more successful. We also explained that there is a suit of armor at the Lansdowne auction-house that she might find interesting to examine.
The Margravin was grateful and wondered how she could repay us. Luca suggested that she might relay anything important she might discover to the librarian Falka, who could act as a mutual contact between our group and the Margravin while we are away. I urged her to use whatever influence she might have to have the Dærlan Empire and the Kingdom of Lyria mend fences, since they might well need each other in the time to come, a time in which the Elder Races are likely to abandon us humans for the second time.
Luca and I retired from the library to meet up with the rest. Despite having been less successful in his inquiries into Lyrium crystals, he was pleased enough to have built some rapport with the Margravin.
James was drunk, Astrid was drunk and battered, Emrys was nursing a headache. By their own metrics they appear to be having a great day.
After lunch we decided that we would need to make some purchases for the road ahead. A few tents and some basic supplies for camping. We also went by a shop owned by a certain Barnaby, where we might get healing potions. We had found them rather steeply priced, so were reluctant to purchase them so far, but we are still lugging around ungodly amount of gold and we need to spend some of it surely!
Master Barnaby initially declined to open the shop, but eventually appeared in the window, looking rather distressed.
When we entered it was quickly revealed that Barnaby was suffering from an unwanted ‘visitor’ in his laboratory in the cellar. A supernatural creature of sorts. We agreed to purge the creature from the laboratory in exchange for the potions. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but a ruse or deception of some kind seemed to be the most likely.
How wrong I was. The truth was much more grim and horrific.
An ethereal looking lady was examining books in the laboratory and paid us no heed. When James approached it seemed unconcerned until he came too close and it started to look at him menacingly with dead eyes.
Meanwhile I noticed the muffled sound of dripping water behind a newly, shoddily built wall. I asked Emrys to point Toruviel at the wall and to blast it away. Behind it lay the decaying body of a woman, crawling with rats and other vermin. I asked Luca to cleanse the corruption with flame, something that unfortunately was necessary.
The spirit did not take kindly to that and attacked. I’m not sure how it worked and what happened, but appeared that she was draining the life from us and was spreading a noxious corruption all around it. It managed to corrupt my body rather effectively. In a desperate move to allow James to move away I stepped into the fray and lunged at it with Muirgheal and ripped through it with great effect. In another desperate move Luca conjured fickle flames to disastrous effect. After a bright burst of flame, darkness descended upon me.
I came to a little later. Feeling badly corrupted. I begged Sedna to heal our group. Slightly dazed I got faint glimpses of what transpired next. James haggled angrily with Barnaby and seems to have pocketed a good supply of potions as well as two interesting items: a dagger and a pair of boots.
Emrys in the meantime had become … I don’t know really. There is light emanating from his orifices. His hair has turned bright silver.
Luca covered up most of Emrys’ head and urged him to keep his eyes and mouth shut while they made their way back to the River Stone. Astrid and James accompanied me outside the city to a sheltered bend in the river where I performed a cleansing ritual to purge the corruption from my body.