Category: Conjunction of Planes

Emma, Session 13

9th day of the 3rd ride, month 6 , 1262

We arrived at Bournemouthe in the late afternoon, as the bustling city was starting to wind down. We got a glimpse of the bustle and prosperity of the town. It is evident that there is a wealth of exotic and uncommon items available here. We will do well to stock up on supplies here. If we can’t find it here, we will not likely find it further on in our endeavor.

After consulting a local we decided to quarter at the River-Stone Inn. It was described as a reliable if somewhat dull place, which well suits our needs. The dullness is pervasive and emanates from the large dour-faced owner Elmund. Emrys failed to bring lightness to the place, but did procure a good amount of information on Lord Destan.
It seems that he quartered his guards at the River-Stone, while he enjoyed the hospitality of local notables: the Lansdowne family. The Lansdowne family operates an auction-house, where the Sheridans auctioned off magical items to establish their wealth.

We had a good meal at the River-Stone and discussed our plans. Emrys, James, and Astrid would spend the next day to find some supplies as well as visiting the Lansdowne auction-house to inform about Lord Destan. I requested 25 crowns worth of silver dust, so that I might make more holy water. Luca suggested to find healing potions. Luca planned to spend all of his time at the academy’s library and I volunteered to assist him where I could.
While the others retired in exhaustion, Luca insisted to start out for the library immediately. I escorted him there in the darkening warm evening.

We noticed that Ioun Island, which houses the Academy was guarded by Crownsguard instead of local Bournemouth guards. On the way over I thanked Luca for having my back with the whole Vadoma ordeal. His honesty allowed me to see the matter in its proper perspective. I expressed my desire to deepen our friendship, and the bonds within our group.
The Island was fairly quiet, which all manner of students quietly studying or practicing outside in the warm evening. We found the library without trouble.

At the library, Luca immediately inquired after a certain Falka to a librarian and he hurried of to find her. Falka turned out to be a middle-aged woman, who studies and teaches ancient history at the Academy. She was both surprised and happy to see Luca. It appears the two had been in correspondence, and that Luca is in the possession of one or more books that would interest Falka. I did not interfere in their greetings.
Falka explained to Luca and me how the library was organized and that she would be available from time to time to assist in our research. And that we were more than welcome to make use of the study-rooms of the library. Moreover, she explained that she had helped Lord Destan as well and could help us find one or more items that interested him. She also explained that Lord Destan was very much interested in the Silver Crusade.

Since it was already late, and I felt my connection to Sedna weakening, I decided to retire to the River-Stone. Luca was adamant to stay and start work. Falka joined me and we departed. We chatted on our way and I inquired about a Dunagore legend, since she hails from Dunagore. She revealed two interesting things. First that Dunagore Castle is unlike most Lyrian castles in construction methods and scale. The latter is especially interesting, since it seems to have been built for individuals of extraordinary size. Secondly, she could tell me about a certain Admiral Karadim who was betrayed by his daughter, which all happened at Dunagore, but, as Falka emphasized, was not from Dunagore.
She wasn’t particularly interested in the legend, but said she would be happy to see if there was more for me to read on it.

10th day of the 3rd ride, month 6 , 1262

The night was thankfully dull and I got a good night sleep. After breakfast I headed back to the library, while Astrid, James, and Emrys set of into town.

Back at the library I found a sleepy Luca, who, despite his stubbornness, had been overcome by sleep. We were joined by Falka a little later. Luca asked me to excuse myself while he and Falka sorted through something. I waited outside the reading-room until a clearly indignant Falka came storming by. I went to join Luca and inquired about what had happened. It turned out that Falka was unable to read from the book that Luca had brought for her, and neither could I. I have no understanding of why this might be, but it seems that the contents of the book is privy to young master Luca and no-one else.
Given that Falka might prove crucial to our endeavors here at the library, we sought her out to make our apologies and to regain her trust. I mostly served as a beacon of calmness to allow Luca to mollify the indignant Falka. He did so to great success. So much so, that Falka offered her services for free and immediately sought to provide a particular poem that Lord Destan had been interested in.

The ancient poem is possibly the only record in which the Crimson Tower is named by name. The poem provides an artistic description of the tower and introduces direction to it, but these were missing. Falka explained that Lord Destan had been looking for the second part of the poem, but couldn’t tell if he had actually found it. We decided to make our own effort to find the second part. Realizing that Luca would be much better suited in this task than me, I beseeched the Mistress to help young master Luca in his quest. After some hours of work, during which I doubt my efforts were particularly useful, Luca achieved victory and recovered the second part,

The second part of the poem provides a set of cryptic directions to find the Crimson Tower. Many parts make rather disturbing allusions and suggestions, but for now we are focused on the name of the lake in which the tower is supposed to stand: The White Eye.

Could the legend be true after all? I would almost hope that my previous assumption was true, that we were merely chasing after the wackiest of three brothers who himself was on a pointless endeavor.

I started transcribing the entire poem.

A little later we were joined by Emrys and James who were seemingly impressed with Luca’s work. Before they could tell us about their adventures in the city the door opened and a stern, if not arrogant looking young lady ordered us to vacate the reading-room.

Arrival in Bournemouth

Previously, the adventurers had made their way to the Inn at the Crossroads and rented rooms for the night. During the night, the room that Astrid and Emma were staying in was invaded by an intruder who trying to steal from them. Emma woke up in the nick of time and she alerted several others. Even though the intruder used many arcane tricks to try and prevent from being caught, eventually the pursuit ended with them tackling the thief to the ground. It was none other than the szygani Vadoma, whom the adventurers had met earlier at the seat of friendship.

She had tried to steal all of the strange red crystals that the adventurers had found in the catacombs below Lynnecombe. When Vadoma was questioned about the nature of the crystals, she explained that they were mythical Lyrium crystals, which were used in times of high magic to create legendary magical artefacts and fuel powerful spells. The adventurers decided to convince the guard to spare Vadoma the gallows, though not unanimously.

The following morning the adventurers continued on the road to Bournemouth, arriving late in the afternoon.

Ninth Day, Third Ride, Summer Light, 1262

(Silvermoon is waning, Bloodmoon in low sanction. Darkmoon is waning.)

Upon entering the city it became clear to the adventurers that the city was full of entrepreneurial types trying to make a living off of the innovations coming out of the famed Bournemouth Academy. Many curious goods were sold on the narrow, crowded streets. Despite it all, the city seemed joyful and optimistic.

A passerby was asked for a suggestion on where to stay, and two options were provided, either stay at The Golden Cockatrice in the Kettering district, or stay at The River Stone in the harbour district. If Ioun’s Isle, the island fortress at the mouth of the river which gave the city its name, was the beating heart of the city, then Kettering was its soul. The Golden Cockatrice was rougher around the edges than The River Stone, and so the adventurers chose to stay at the latter, considering it the safer option, having been the subject of a nighttime intrusion and sitting on a pile of platinum.

The horses and cart were left in the care of a stable master by the name of Siggi, and the inn was run by Elmond, a large, dour-faced man, and Bella the Barkeep, a rotund woman with a pleasant face. A large room was arranged that would house all five of the adventurers and some food was consumed.

All the while Emrys talked to two of the young girls on staff at the inn, as well as Elmond, for more information about Lord Destan. It appeared that Lord Destan had housed Gorden, Jenna and Mark, the three Sheridan guards that accompanied him, at the inn, but he himself had stayed at the prestigious Landsdowne auction house. Elmond could also share that Lord Destan departed after staying in Bournemouth for a short few days, heading to Blackbridge.

It was decided that Astrid, Emrys and James would stay at the inn and get an early night’s sleep, but that Emma and Luca would make their way over to the Bournemouth academy to see whether they could start their research early. Luca had a contact at the library that he wanted to find as soon as possible.

The two made their way from the inn to Ioun’s Isle and entered the academy campus. The atmosphere was academically vibrant, with students spending the warm summer evenings on the lawns and in the parks on the isle, studying, debating and dreaming up new ideas and theorems. The duo noticed that Ioun’s Isle was being guarded by Crownguard, not the city guard.

The two found the library easily and found it to be open and accessible. A hall the length of a hundred paces, lined symmetrically on either side with bookcase alcoves with large windows providing as much natural light as possible. The floor was covered in polished wood and several reading rooms were available on either end of the hall. Librarians were busy helping researchers and students or were busy organising and returning books to their proper place. Two hundred thousand books were at their disposal.

Luca started asking the librarians after his contact Falka and they seemed confused at the mention of the name at first, but eventually brought him to a librarian they called “Faulkner”, a name that was recommended to Luca by a man called Shakeslock when he visited the Seat of Friendship the day before.

“Faulkner” turned out to be the person Luca had corresponded with, and she was delighted, if somewhat surprised, to see him. Luca explained the reason for his visit and his hope that she might help him find the information he was looking for. Once it became clear to Falka that they were looking for Lord Destan she explained that several rides ago she also helped him find information that he was looking for. The stars seemed to align and Falka brought them to a luxurious reading room for them to use.

Luca wanted to repay Falka by allowing her to read his precious tome. They had corresponded about the contents of the tome in the past and the prospect of going through it made her excited. When she started paging through the book she got very cross and accused Luca of playing a trick on her, revealing that each page in the book was empty. Luca was mystified as he saw the infernal scripture he had always seen when reading the book.

Emma decided that it was time for her to retire to the inn, but Luca had no such intentions and decided to try and work throughout the night. He had a lot of ground to cover and little time to do it in. Falka excused herself for not properly introducing herself to Emma and introduced herself as “Falka of Dunagore.”

When Falka finally formally introduced herself to Emma as “Falka of Dunagore.” Emma asked Falka if she knew about the legend of an admiral who was betrayed by a female companion at Dunagore, which she had picked up from one of the songs that Muirgheal had sang to her. Falka recalled a tale about an admiral by the name of Karadin who had fallen to foes after being betrayed by his daughter.

Emma would be back to help in the morning and departed for the inn. Falka kept her home in Kettering and would accompany the priestess part of the way and Emma saw an opportunity to ask Falka some questions and get to know her better.

Apparently, Falka had grown up on Dunagore Mount where the Order of the Shield makes its home. Her mother was a cook in the service of the order, while her father was an armsman. She was noticed to be intelligent by the Knight Chronicler of the order and she was set to work for him. Eventually she was sent off to study at the Bournemouth academy, where she studied at the Depart of Ancient History. She was mostly interested in finding out why the hall- and doorways of Dunagore Fortress seemed to be made for people who were much taller than people are now.

Tenth Day, Third Ride, Summer Light, 1262

(Silvermoon is waning, Bloodmoon in waxing. Darkmoon is low sanction.)

The following morning it was decided that Astrid, Emrys and James would explore the city and procure some supplies. Astrid would also try and arrange for passage to Blackbridge on a river boat later in the day, first promising James to back him up as he would explore the seedier parts of Bournemouth in search of information. Emma would once again head for the library to help Luca out with the research.

The trio found market square and Tolliver square back to back in the centre of the city. Market square was chock full of stalls selling mostly foodstuffs. It had not gone unnoticed that many of the items going through the harbour district were also staple food, produce and fodder. Fairfields, of which Bournemouth was the defacto capital, was known to be the breadbasket of Lyria and many destinations beyond.

Tolliver square was a more dignified square where House Tolliver, the most prestigious house in Bournemouth, kept their mansion. The Daerlan empire also had a rather prominent consulate on the square.

Wandering around the streets of Bournemouth the trio stumbled upon a shop called Alfred Barnaby’s Concoctions & Decoctions, devoted to alchemical ingredients, dusts, ointments, salves and potions. Inside they found a curious, older gentleman who was running the establishment, who had many different healing ointments and potions for sale, which was something that Luca had asked James to be on the lookout for. There were many other items, like a potion which supposedly allowed the imbiber to breath flame like a dragon of legend. Alfred Barnaby turned out to be a horrible negotiator, but despite that the trio decided not to buy anything (yet.)

The next stop for the trio was the Landsdowne auction house. They found it on the southern part of the river, which was rich and heavily patrolled by city guard. Two guards in the employ of the auction house stood out front. After a short chat, Emrys managed to convince them to allow him an introduction to Villem Landsdowne, who ran the auction house. After convincing Villem that Emrys was working for the Sheridan family, they spoke about Lord Destan and him staying at the auction house during his visit to Bournemouth. The family apparently never purchased anything at auction, but were notorious for having sold many curious and magical items. Lord Destan did show an interest in a set of leather armour which he claimed to have a curious origin.

With this information in hand, Emrys and James decided to visit Ioun’s Isle and find Emma and Luca. Astrid headed down to the harbour to find passage upriver to Egremont and Blackbridge for the second day of the next ride.

Emma had since made it to the library and had met up with Falka and Luca. Falka had uncovered one part of a poem that mentioned the Crimson Tower, which Lord Destan had found during his research. The poem was incomplete, and Lord Destan had spent a lot of time trying to find the rest of it, but to no avail. The morning was spent trying to find the companion piece. Again, the stars seemed to align and the second piece of the poem revealed itself to the researchers.

Part 1:

When summer is at full ascent,
The spectres rise, the veil relents.
And those the lake of light condones,
Bear witness to a great torment.

Be still and heed the fright’ning tones,
Of rending flesh and breaking bones.
An evil which does not belong.
Hark! The crusaders’ painful moans!

When darkest moon stands full and strong,
You hear their wicked, fiendish tongue.
The evils try to draw you near,
With anguish of their victim’s song.

Your heart is steadfast and sincere,
Go find the source of pain and fear,
And scratch away the thin veneer.
The crimson tow’r might then appear.

Part 2:

Pursuing thus the tow’r of lore,
The white eye is to be explored.
Prepare and wait for day to break,
And look along its placid shore.

As light of dawn creeps ‘cross the lake,
And water seems to be opaque,
The scarlet walls will come ‘to sight.
Descending shade will a bridge make.

The bodies displayed like a blight,
Robs you of all your earn’d delight.
And walk across the wet you ought,
For time to enter is finite.

Inside you go to time forgot,
Before the tow’r returns to naught.
Replay events will be your lot.
And hope you find that which you sought.

The subject of the next topic to research had just come up when Emrys and James arrived at the library and found the others in the reading room. They shared the information they had found about Lord Destan with one another. Falka had left the group in order to search for a map of Pinefall and the village of Bristlecone, which she knew to be the destination for Lord Destan’s onward voyage.

It was at this time that some of the group started to notice that the library was becoming more and more devoid of researchers. Soon, it was discovered that a noble lady dressed in expensive black clothing, wearing her blond hair in a tight bun, accompanied by four guards armoured in black armour with silver trimmings, was ordering the library be shut off from the public. A quick inquiry at one of the remaining librarians revealed her to be Margravine Ulrikke von Rosenberg, a student at the academy’s faculty of Diplomacy and Statescraft. She was the daughter of Count Ardel von Rosenberg, the Imperial ambassador to Lyria, who, in turn, was the younger brother to Duke Eggbert von Rosenberg, the Suzerain of Fintra, a very powerful nobleman in the Daerlan empire.

Emma quickly assumed that since the adventurers were using the luxurious reading room, it was very possible that they were going to be ejected from the library as well. Luca seemed unconcerned but James began checking whether or not the windows could easily be shattered to make for a hasty exit should things get out of hand.

Emma, Session 12

8th day of the 3rd ride, month 6 , 1262

Following the confrontation with the unfaithful mercenaries we made good time to the Inn at the Crossroads. The traders Trent and Oliver were happy to accept our hospitality and to return to the Inn. We arrived in time for supper, which the traders offered to pay for us in recompense for our charity and hospitality. I think we are all a little too embarrassed to let them, since they had just lost a lot of money, while we are sitting on an ungodly amount of it. We didn’t tell them that though.

After some confusion it was decided that Luca will look after the accounting instead of Emrys. Neither I nor Emrys has the disposition to appreciate the wealth for its true value (albeit in very different ways), James might well get sticky fingers, or account in a way that is perhaps a little too favorable for him. And to be fair, those riches must be unfairly tempting to him, like a Siren’s call.
Luca is a man of letters and numbers, so surely he should be able to manage the accounting. I also feel that, the hints of darkness in him notwithstanding, we can expect him to do it fairly for all. The treasury has been put in the room I share with Astrid, since that would mean that two of us will be guarding it.

The Inn at the crossroads is a small but bustling community centered around the inn. The inn has two main buildings, one for people with a limited budget, and one for the more well of, which at the present includes us. We were put up in the second building. Each of the men took their own room, while Astrid and I took a double on the ground floor.

We spent the evening lounging with an abundance of food in the central square of the town, basking in the lingering warmth. Trent and Oliver later joined us. After some pleasantries Luca suggested to them that they would be welcome to come with us to Bournemouthe and take a boat from there if they would fail to find a replacement escort. I was pleasantly surprised by Luca’s kindness to these strangers and agreed. Suddenly James objected, pointing out that there was nothing to gain from this charity. The force with which he made the objections stifled the conversation and scared of  the traders. They went to find us replacement drinks and the option of coming along to Bournemouthe was no longer raised for the rest of the evening. I retired shortly after, urging Astrid and Emrys to show some restraint.

Not that I expected them to take much heed of my urgings.

9th day of the 3rd ride, month 6, 1262

I awaken, certain that there is someone else in the room. I grasp a few crumbs of moss and produce a bluish-green light to help me see. I inspect the room, heart pacing, but find no-one other than Astrid, and nothings seems to be amiss. I calm myself and go back to bed.

I awaken, certain that there is someone else in the room. I grasp a few crumbs of moss and produce a bluish-green light to help me see. I inspect the room, heart pacing, and find a eerie floating hand fumbling at the latches of the shutters. I rush at it and call upon Sedna to draw all life-giving water from it.
The hand vanished.
A few moments later I hear someone rushing from the room through the door. I wasn’t quick enough to see who or what it was. I rouse Astrid and rush after the intruder by ear.

I follow the intruder to the lobby, where I became woefully disoriented.

Curses!

Unfamiliar surroundings and a terrible hurry got the better of me, better head back to my room. Astrid was still hot on the trail though, for I saw her rush by.

Once back in my room I heard someone drop on the ground close to my window, and I figured I would do the same. It was James, who was awakened by all the commotion. The two of us went in pursuit.

At the main gate of the town we found Astrid looking around frantically, but with no trace of the intruder. After a little while James and I noticed footsteps appearing on the dusty trail without feet or a body being perceivable. We pointed it out to Astrid and a furious chase ensued.
I managed to outline the figure by marking it for death, but unfortunately this was insufficient to end the chase. After a few more frantic moments James managed to bring our opponent down.

It was Vadoma. When she went down, the bag with red gemstones spilled from her hands and onto the path.

I collected the stones and saved her life, allowing the guards of the Inn at the Crossroads to collect her and lock her up. We asked the Cpt. of the Guard for permission to interrogate her before she would be placed at the Lord’s disposal for justice. Given her background, that ‘justice’ was expected to be cruel and swift.

I couldn’t rest much more that night. I was quite upset. When I first met Vadoma and her brothers I likened them to kindred spirits. Where I follow the streams, they follow the earthen paths of this world. I liked to think that Vadoma and I had made a good connection and created some mutual respect. I assumed that they were a lot like me, helpful in nature.

I was wrong.

In fact, she disparaged me and decided to steal the stones from us. That was her mistake however, for my compatriots softened my mistake and prevented her success. It left her locked up and headed for the gallows.

I was greatly saddened by her breaking of faith, but failed to properly express this disappointment to her the next day during the interrogation. I barely managed to throw the trinket she had given to me in exchange for the stone at her feet.
I introduced her to Luca and saw him extract information from her with ruthless efficiency. But he also made her a promise: to try and have her released from custody. My anger at Vadoma notwithstanding, I was very grateful that Luca promised to try and spare her life.

She told us that the red stones are Lyrium crystals. Powerful objects that can be used to enhance magical effects of all kinds. Together with Lyrium ore, it can be used to craft powerful magical items … like Muirgheal.
Vadoma wanted to acquire the crystals to buy refuge at the Elven realm of the ‘The Lady without End’.
Occurrences throughout Lyria as well as the appearance of these Lyrium crystals all point to one thing: the Age of Fear is returning.
The crystals themselves have lent their name to this kingdom. Lyrium crystals were the source of power for the Knights of the Silver Crusade, the precursor to the Lyrian knights.
I don’t fully understand how, but there appears to be a connection between ‘rifts’ between the planes and the occurrence of these crystals. It seems these stones are like a boulder in a stream, water can flow on either side of it. The darker side or the lighter side.

After the interrogation Luca spun a story that the night’s events were the result of a fundamental misunderstanding between Vadoma and me, and that it was essentially a ’deal gone wrong’ that need not end in further tragedy. The Cpt. of the Guard was sympathetic to the situation and promised to release Vadoma, although he expected her and her people to banished from the Lord’s lands for the foreseeable future.
James then forcefully interjected to prevent Vadoma’s release, which thankfully failed.

Eventually I learned that he expects Vadoma and her kin to chase us to the ends of the earth in order to acquire the stones. Although I must admit that to be a possibility, I don’t think she’ll be stupid enough to challenge us again. My gullibility notwithstanding, she nearly died, twice, and has nothing to show for it.
Our mercy may on the long run prove more fruitful. The Szygani have proven themselves knowledgeable and powerful in their own way. I don’t see how getting one of theirs killed will help us. When the Age of Fear returns, we may well need them as allies.

What I have learnt is that I should have confided in my allies earlier. My instinct to speak to the Szygani to gain information was right, but I handled it poorly. Blinded as I was by the prospect of finally meeting kindred spirits. I projected my own demeanor onto them, where they were considerably more devious and calculating. I should have brought my allies along.
In my thirst to seek belonging and kinship with other humans I was too eager to trust Vadoma and her brothers. She took advantage of this. I can’t even fault her for it, given the degree of hostility people generally seem to generate towards her and her kin. But it still hurts. It cut deep and laid bare a simple fact: I shouldn’t be looking for people to trust, I should learn to trust the people I’m with. I shouldn’t look for people to belong to, I should start building the community to which I will belong.

We packed up and left the Inn at the Crossroads., burdened with new terrifying revelations about the troubles ahead. I feel in my bones that Destin’s endeavors are related to the returning Age of Fear, I have no proof, I just feel that this is the case.

We made good time and around midday we were in sight of Eastbourne. We didn’t enter and rested in the shade by the road instead. We then continued on to Bournemouthe, which we reached in the early evening. For the next couple of days we will stay here to make find out as much as we can about Destin and his endeavors.

Broken Faith

Previously, the adventurers departed from Kingsport and headed for Bournemouth. The goal of the first day way to reach the Inn at the Crossroads, halfway to Bournemouth where the Silesian Road split off north to White Fork. They had lunch at the Seat of Friendship, a glade formed by a primordial oak tree, protected by a group of druids who promoted the glade as a communal place. Many different people took their rest there, including a group of three szygani.

Emma decided to approach the szygani and talk about esoteric matters. Vadoma, the defacto leader of the group engaged Emma in a friendly manner. Emma felt confident enough to ask the szygani about the strange gems the group had found in the Lynnecombe catacombs. The szygani said they looked like ordinary crystals and proposed a trade for a silver necklace and pendant, which Emma agreed to.

After continuing their journey, about an hour away from their destination, the group changed upon two merchants who were beset upon by their traitorous guard. The adventurers decided to intervene on the merchants behalf and defeated four of the guards and drove off the remaining two. Trent and Oliver were merchants on their way back to Kingsport but agreed to return to the Inn at the Crossroads with the adventurers, as they were convinced it would be safer than travelling on to Kingsport without protection at night.

Eight Day, Third Ride, Summer Light, 1262

(Silvermoon is waning, Bloodmoon in low sanction. Darkmoon is waning.)

The ride from the site of the combat to the Inn at the Crossroads was a quiet one. Trent and Oliver sat on the back of the cart, dangling their legs off the end while Emrys laid in the back of the car, uncharacteristically silent after being seriously wounded in the battle with the traitorous guards. Despite Emma channelling Sedna’s healing graces into Emrys’ wounded frame, he needed a moment to compose himself.

James decided to drive the cart so that Emma could take a look at the flesh wound he had incurred during the fight. She cleaned and bandaged it and was confident it would not lead to infection.

They arrived at the inn around supper time, finding it the size of a small village, surrounded by a wooden palisade, complete with their own guards keeping the peace. Two gates, one looking out over the Silesian Road, the other looking out over the road leading north to White Fork, allowed entrance onto a wide open space surrounded by a stonemason tavern building, large stables with an overhead hayloft, two large buildings with rooms of different sizes and qualities, as well as host of log cabins and bungalows for staff as well as guests.

Outside of the palisade there were several small houses, huts, carts, carriages and tents set up by travellers and more permanent residents. The adventurers noticed another, colourful szygani carriage standing on the opposite side of the junction than the inn.

Inside the palisade the adventurers found a liveliness of different visitors, all sitting on wooden tables and benches outside of the tavern enjoying food and drink in the early evening sunlight. The horses were put up, three single rooms and one double room for Astrid and Emma were rented, and equipment was stored away. Luca found a notice board with some random messages pinned to it from some of the locals.

The adventurers met a guard named Bram, a foreign stable master by the name of Nica, the innkeeper Selma, and a one-armed bartender by the name of Tom.

A table was found outside the tavern and the adventurers ordered food and drinks while discussing who among them would be the treasurer of their coin. It was decided that Luca would be the one to mind the coffers.

Later the adventurers were joined by Trent and Oliver, who had talked to the head of the guard about securing passage back to Kingsport the following day. They told a little bit about themselves until James was bored enough to find entertainment in a game of dice, elsewhere.

An agreement was made that they would continue onward to Bournemouth at daybreak, and all retired for the night.

Ninth Day, Third Ride, Summer Light, 1262

(Silvermoon is waning, Bloodmoon in low sanction. Darkmoon is waning.)

In the middle of the night Emma awakens from something stirring in her room. She instinctively reached for the material foci she needed to conjure a magical light to illuminate the room and found the room empty and Astrid vast asleep. She spent a few minutes looking around the room and when she found the door locked and the inside and outside shutters fastened, she decided to go back to sleep.

When she jerked awake some time later, she was certain something was wrong and she repeated the action of conjuring a light. She found the room empty as before, except for a strange, spectral hand hovering in front of the shutters, trying to open them. She reached out and grabbed the hand and unleashed a shock of malicious energy and the hand disappeared. In that instant, the door to her room opened and she could hear the footsteps of someone running down the hallway.

Emma quickly woke up Astrid and ran down the hall after the intruder, yelling for the guards as she went. When Emma turned the corner towards the exit of the building her room was in, she found the way blocked by a wall. She stood there for a moment, confused. Astrid came running in after her and seemingly disappeared straight through the wall. The confusion grew, but Emma put it aside in favour of finding a different way of pursuing the intruder and she returned to her room.

James had woken up from Emma’s shouting and immediately deducted what was going on. Instead of taking the regular route down, he decided to open the shutters to his the window of his room on the first floor and climb out. While he was doing so, Emma had returned to her room, locked the door behind her and climbed out of her window on the ground floor, too. Both of them set off in pursuit of the intruder who was being chased towards the main gate by Astrid.

After cornering the intruder in front of the closed gate, the adventurers realised that the intruder was invisible and they could only follow their footsteps on the dirt ground, dusty from backing for days in the summer sun. The intruder slipped past the adventurers and headed in the opposite direction, towards the other gate. Emma cast a holy prayer towards the intruder, outlining them in a faint, divine glow. Astrid set off in pursuit while James manoeuvred himself on an intercept course cutting off the pursuer’s route.

When the intruder found their route blocked off by James, they grabbed a hand of dust off the ground and blew it into James face, trying to set off an arcane spell to lull him to sleep. The invisibility spell immediately broke and quickly Vadoma, the szygani shimmered into view. She clearly misjudged James’ heritage or perhaps wasn’t aware of their natural resistance against sleep enchantments, but James wasn’t affected at all.

Eventually, as Vadoma was struggling to make it to the other gate, Astrid and James injuring her severely as they pursued her and eventually she fell and a bag full of red gemstones spilled from her grasp.

Emma gathered the gemstones while James and Astrid made sure that Vadoma didn’t escape. The head of the guard, Milton of Green Orchard, eventually took her into custody and locked her up in a make shift jail cell and put two guards to watch over her. He said he would bind her hands and the adventurers made sure that she would also be gagged so that she’d be hard-pressed to make sure of her arcanist abilities.

The adventurers went back to their rooms and try to get back to sleep. The following morning it was decided that Astrid and Emrys would get the cart ready for departure while Emma, Luca and James went to see if they could talk to Vadoma before she was taken away by the local lord’s guard. Milton explained that the lord’s punishment could be rough, anywhere from lashing, to losing a limb, to hanging. The managed to convince Milton to allow them to talk to Vadoma.

It didn’t take long before Vadoma was willing to talk, provided that the adventurers would make sure that she would be freed before they departed that day. Luca promised to do so. Breaking faith, Vadoma promised, would incur the wrath of the szygani.

She explained that the gemstones she had tried to steal were Lyrium crystals. The crystals were one of two expressions of the powerful reagent Lyrium – the other being Lyrium ore – that could be found around powerful fissures, rifts and portals in the fabric of reality between the planes. These rifts haven’t been seen for thousands of years, since the Age of Fear, and therefore, Lyrium was incredibly rare and incredibly powerful.

Vadoma shared that she would have taken the crystals to Duén Gwyndeith, the Palace of the White Flame in the Worthwilde, and offer them to Hlaith N’Deireadh, the Lady Without Ending, in exchange for protection during the next Age of Fear.

The adventurers reapplied Vadoma’s gag and went to talk to Milton. While Emma and Luca were trying to convince Milton to let Vadoma go, James got frustrated that his companions were actually going through with it and went to help Astrid and Emrys get ready, but not before trying to sabotage his companion’s attempts to have Vadoma freed.

Despite James’ attempts, Luca and Emma managed to convince Milton to go easy on Vadoma by appealing to his sense of sympathy for Vadoma being part of a misunderstood and persecuted group of people, something that Milton could sympathise with. He himself grew up in Green Orchard, but was born in Fulham and as such had to deal with many negative stereotypes about his heritage – inbred, sheep fuckers, dumb, etc. – throughout his childhood in Green Orchard.

The adventurers departed and had a fairly quiet day on the Silesian Road. Their journey took them further and further away from the coast and the road became less maintained and the villages and hamlets fewer and fewer. More and more trees dotted the landscape, casting a blessed shade over the path, shielding the adventurers from the punishing heat.

Eventually, they took some rest outside of the small, hillside town of Eastwarren, just before they were to turn towards the south, towards Bournemouth, the second largest city in Lyria.

Just before the end of the afternoon, as the sounds of the gulls and the sea of the Lyrian Gulf started to wash over them again, they descended down into the valley of the river Bourne and the city came into view.

The Crimson Tower: Inn at the Crossroads: Notice Board

Flogging

As punishment for failure to perform feudal duties, a hundred lashes each have been administered to; George of Schrain, Sten Brottus, Brottus the Elder and Mussy Halin.

May this serve as a reminder; the hand that feeds can also strike its wayward wards.

Ointments for Ailments

Ointments for carbuncles, boils and gout have I, to exchange for salted meat or such. Be warned, it’s awful rank and bothersome to wear, yet I swear it works wonders!

– Lemmiel

Rubs for Aches

My daughter’s hands be strong and supple and more than one man or wife complaining of witchshot or other aches of the back have come to her greatly troubled and left at ease. If hard work in the field has got you hunched over like an over-burdened ox, come to our hut and find relief.

– Ally

P.S. Waste not your time nor ours with lecherous proposals.

From the Innkeeper

You’ll buy your food and drinks at the inn with Lyrian crowns. We take no other coin. We don’t do tabs, either. Nor exchanges, save for eat or drink. If anyone doesn’t like that, they can go and rut for acorns.

– Selma

Net Mending

The folk of Northshire know me to be a good fisherman. Man has yet to weave a net I cannot mend. So I’ll mend yours, too, and for a small fee I’ll throw in some bobs and a line guaranteed not to break, not even if a whale swallows it and dives. You can find me in me house after dusk, when I’ve returned with the day’s catch.

– Olly