Forgotten Suns: Log - Into the Wyld
From DivNull RPG
|25th day of Ascending Fire to 10th day of Resplendent Fire, RY 769|
|Forgotten Manse||5 July 2006|
Since Jorias's stone is surgically implanted, he takes more damage than the others when the hearthstones explode. Inspecting the manse, the circle sees that the jungle has been cleared away from the base of the manse, revealing a platform on which the manse rests. They don't know what to make of this, so decide to test the shield. In order to avoid offending the Lady of the Vine (with whom a deal at been made to leave the shield off), they sacrifice to her to get her attention, then talk with her about the test. She agrees and the test is successful.
In the two weeks it takes for the hearthstones to regenerate, the group trains. While doing so, Stag has Fern comb through the remnants of the libraries within the manse for references to the Three Gated Cage or related topics. Most books are ruined, but she does find some information about Wyr'palja. A history text lists her as the founder of Q'in Sanizaj, a city she raised with sorcery in the far east as a home for refugees from the war with the Primordials. The city was considered a stunning achievement, not only of sorcery, but of the vegetative and crystal technologies used by the Dragon Kings. She is mentioned as a master artificer and architect, having designed key parts of the Pyramid of the Sun in Rathess. She is also called the "mother of alchemy", and a passing mention of made of her "creating and operating the first and third gates to save Baradine".
|11th day of Resplendent Fire, RY 769|
|Sylvan Crucible||5 July 2006|
When the hearthstones regenerate, the group realizes that the stone owned by Cruxis has reformed as well, leaving him unconnected to the manse, wherever he might be. The circle decides to leave his stone in the hearthroom, with Gutts, Guen and Jorias reclaiming their original stones.
Adrios desires to joing the circle in their visit to the east, and recommends that Ranesk guard the manse. Jorias gives Ranesk his orichalcum spear and breastplate, to improve his chances of repelling an invader.
The group piles into the Cloudwalking Ingot, with Varden feigning death in the trunk, Stag possessing the vehicle and Guen and Pia transforming into small animals. After a fairly uneventful flight, they land outside the Sylvan Crucible.
Guen spends a few minutes to find the edge of the Sylvan Crucible, then announces his presence in the proscribed fashion. Several deer-men come out to greet them and, after introductions and announcing their intentions, the circle is invited in. They follow a series of marble walkways that wander through a mix of tropical and deciduous forest, passing numerous pools, several circles of columns and stairways that rise to nothing or descend to stone or water. The circle can tell they are in a powerful outdoor manse, so stick to their escort. Many animals wander freely, particularly deer.
Eventually, they reach a large central courtyard, surrounded by several buildings. One is a massive feasting hall, another is a shrine, and a stout defensible tower overlooks them both. The deer-men introduce them to an old and unkempt, but still fairly intimidating man named Korlysto. Obviously the head of the manse, he greets the circle and introduces another man. Attractive and young, Sulvad Tiaosa dresses in Imperial fashions, greeting the circle politely with a formal bow (one that Stag recognizes as a being used specifically in the Imperial court).
Guen introduces Pia, and formally requests she face the trials to have her caste fixed. Korlysto asks Pia what she wants and she stammers through much the same. To Pia, he says "then come, we will discuss it", and motions Pia to the tower nearby. To he others, he says, "we have much to discuss, friends, but it can wait until morning." Indicating the deer-men, he continues "my children will take you to where you will sleep."
Provided with rooms inside the large feasting hall, the circle settles in for the night. When Stag enters his room, however, Sulvad Tiaosa is waiting for him. He says "Hello, Flowing Pen" and changes form into a different, much older man. Stag is confused, but Tiaosa claims that he recognizes Stag's scent as that of an Immaculate monk known as Flowing Pen, who Tiaosa met while in the form of Mnemon Ashkimadan. Even against Stag's protestation of ignorance of all this, Tiaosa/Ashkimadan asks to hear about Flowing Pen's tell his side of the story of his "supposed death" and where the Empress might be. Stag provides no such thing, and Tiaosa, still in good spirits, departs by jumping out the window, then turning into a horse. Stag just goes to sleep.
|12th day of Resplendent Fire, RY 769|
|Sylvan Crucible||5 July 2006|
At dawn, Korlysto's deer-men wake the circle and inform them that "Korlysto bid you to join him in the tower, but warns you to come only in your true face." Guen heeds this warning, arriving in human form, but Stag remains masked. This clearly irritates Korlysto, who begins to chastise Stag. Before he can work up much steam, Sulvad Tiaosa enters and says "that is his true face, lord. Or one of them at any rate." Korlysto decides to drop it and welcomes them all into a circular room, with sitting pillows in a ring around the floor. Pia sits on one of them. Another is occupied by an albino woman in strange makeup.
One everyone is sitting, Korlysto announces that he will sponsor Pia in the trials. Guen asks him to predict her caste. Korlysto says "we'll see", but the albino woman good-naturedly chimes in "changing moon". Korlysto acknowledges her for the first time and says "this is Poison Vault, who was brought here for her knowledge, not her opinion." Poison chuckles. "As you evidently received my message, the main topic of this council will be the tomb of the solar Wyr'palja. As I wrote, her tomb was located in the Wyld to the East of here some time ago." After summarizing the rest of the message for the circle, they asked Korlysto about the "relic" that he wanted recovered.
Korlysto's answers by stating a fact: "Wyr'palja was a master alchemist, the best the First Age had ever seen. She went beyond the tinkerings of mortal alchemy and figured out how to use real magic to make potions, and other tricks. She experimented constantly discovering the useful and the curious. Our concern is one of her less important innovations, the formula for which is rumored to be in a book buried with her. A trifle, even at the time, this invention could become something of a threat, given our current circumstances." This last bit arched some eyebrows, buy Korlysto just motioned to Poison Vault, who stands.
"The invention is a liquid called Empty Canvas," she begins. "It is a kind of solvent. When it is brushed onto any surface, it will remove any paint, dye, stain or similar coloration from it, without damaging the underlying surface." Looking around and confirming that the circle is fairly unimpressed, she continues. "In the First Age, even the few who knew about it treated it mostly as a novelty, though it saw some practical use. It was sometimes used to remove tattoos." Still seeing the unimpressed looks, she concludes "We think that it is strong enough to erase lunar tattoos." Guen, Jorias and Sulvad looked surprised. No one else had any idea why that was such a big deal.
After it was explained to them, Korlysto said "even though the risk of this actually becoming a problem is slim, should the Fair Folk learn of this formula and master it, our war with them would become more complicated. I'd rather the silver pact be in sole possession of this formula. Since you seem intent on tracking down the tomb anyway, surely it wouldn't exceed your capabilities to deliver the formula to us."
The circle quickly agreed, asking for any information about the location of the tomb. Korlysto informs them that the tomb of Wyr'palja was once the center of the great city she founded: Q'in Sanizaj. After the Great Contagion, the city was swallowed into the Wyld, but the tomb somehow remained intact. He claims the tomb is known to be in the possession of Cahlenna, a powerful Fair Folk noble who regularly moves the tomb. He suggests that she is likely to be well known in the Wyld, and tracking her down might be the circle's best bet. She leads the Opal Court, so finding the court will likely find her. He also suggests that, where the Wyld is concerned, a vision quest might be useful, as it can show visions of the future and unlock memories. The circle seems reticent, but with some encouragement from Poison, who thinks it is a great idea and some insistence from Korlysto, they decide it couldn't hurt.
After a slight lull in the conversation that follows, Sulvad Tiaosa, who has remained silent through the discussions, stands. "I myself had a vision," he says, "though not in a sweat lodge. It directed me here, I'd thought to talk with Korlysto, but having met you all, I'm thinking you might be my message's intended target. Few know that I have spent the greater part of the last century on the Blessed Isle. Even fewer know what I'm doing there. At present, I have been keeping tabs on the Empress' most powerful child, Mnemon, from within her court. She is a powerful sorceress, and has a device, the Emerald Thurible, which allows her to summon powerful demons. With this device, she has learned of a wedding being planned in hell that will be held at the same time as the Empress's funeral. I haven't been able to find out whose wedding it is, why it matters, or why it is connected to the funeral, but Mnemon is nearly obsessed with it.
"The timing of the funeral, or even if there will be one, is not decided. It's largely a political game, as it brings questions of succession to the fore. A new Emperor or Empress can only take the throne once the current Empress is eliminated, so you can imagine that various forces within the Empire have, shall we say, differing opinions on what should be done. Mnemon seems to believe that this wedding can be stopped by preventing the funeral, but I don't yet understand why she would want to.
"I was in the middle of tracking down more information when I had an extremely powerful dream, which brought me here. Does any of this mean anything to you?" Most in the circle shrugged or shook their heads. Stag remained silent. Obviously hoping for more, Sulvad sat down, saying, "Pity."
|Sylvan Crucible||24 July 2006|
After the council breaks up, Poison Vault brings the circle off the beaten path of the manse, to a ladder sticking out of a hole in the ground. Down the ladder is a circular room, basically a pit in the ground covered with a ceiling. Poison instructs the circle to pile in and sit. She joins them and ignites a pot on the floor, adding in various powders and liquids. She tells the circle to breathe the smoke slowly, to close their eyes and relax.
In short order, the group falls into a trance and experiences a shared hallucination for many hours. Emerging late at night, the circle sleeps.
Leaping Into the Wyld
|13th day of Resplendent Fire, RY 769|
|Sylvan Crucible||24 July 2006|
As the circle prepares to leave in the morning, some discussion of the visions commences, hampered by the circle members' unwillingness to share which were past events. The lone exceptions were Guen (whose past vision was fairly obvious to all) and Jorias, who would only say that he was the one who was set on fire "as part of my path to sorcery". Some visions were clearly set in the Wyld, however, and these were discussed. Poison Vault recognized the description of one of them as taking place in a place called the "forest of arms", a fairly well-known landmark of the eastern Wyld, and she told the circle how to get there.
Just prior to taking off in the Cloudwalking Ingot, Korlysto bid the circle farewell. They decide their best bet is to follow the vision and go to the Forest of Arms. The fly east for quite a while, eventually reaching the forest close to sundown. Seeing a clearing, they land the ship and, after Stag activates the Anchor in Order, get out. The clearing is filled with mushrooms, and walking on them releases puffs of spores that cause mushrooms to grow on several of the circle. The rest of the circle manages to get out of the ring of mushrooms around the ship without disturbing them.
They wander around, seeing trees with numerous eyes and branches like twisted arms. Occasionally, a pod falls from a free and opens into a mobile hand that runs around trying to connect to anything to reaches, including the circle, but all the branches seem to shy away from touching them.
The light becomes dimmer as the sun begins to set. Bushes below the trees suddenly bloom into bright red flowers, a furry pod forming at the center of each bloom. Remembering this from their vision, the circle begins to run back toward the ship. Flowered bushes are blooming everywhere along their path. As the sun sets completely, the pods leap out at the circle, becoming roughly cat-sized predators, with membranes between their limbs that allow them to glide. Dozens of them swarm onto the circle.
|Forest of Arms||15 August 2006|
Though numerous, the hatra are not very tough, and the circle cuts through them with ease, though they get a bit gnawed on in the process. When they reach the clearing where they landed, they notice a number of spiders made from wood around their ship, harassing a number of ghosts. One of the ghosts stands at least twelve feet tall, with a long prehensile tail. At last making use of some essence sight charms, the circle notices a number of other wood spiders dematerialized as well, threatening the ghosts on the immaterial plane. As the circle, still unnoticed, starts planning a strategy, Gutts just attacks, running through the mushrooms and kicking up more spores. The circle half-heartedly joins him.
|Forest of Arms||21 August 2006|
The wood spiders prove to have poisonous bites, and more mettle than than the hatra, especially because they regenerate. The circle manages to engage both the insubstantial ones as well as their materialized brothers, but not before the spiders kill most of the ghosts. Only the giant ghosts survives, fighting them with a number of soulsteel artifacts, including a mask that shoots out arcs of necrotic energy. The fight is swift, but the mushrooms infect most of the circle and the spiders deal out a bit a pain before they all perish.
As Stag uses charms to eliminate the mushroom infection in is comrades, the rest talk to the ghost, who calls himself Bezul. He claims to be an essence merchant, explaining that he has the ability to move essence between himself, essence-containing gemstones and other essence wielders. He was working a deal with the wood spiders when they betrayed him. He asks if there is anything he can do to repay the circle and they ask him to fill the couple of essence-containing gems they own, and for information about the tomb of Wyr'palja.
He brightens at the latter request, claiming to know roughly where the tomb his now. He claims that nearly a thousand years ago, he was a citizen of Wyr'palja's city, Q'in Sanizaj. He was there when the Contagion hit and lived through it, only to get caught up in the Fair Folk invasion that followed. He managed to escape into the surrounding forest, but was not prepared for the Wyld that now seethed around the city. He was mutated, become taller, growing a tail and, before to long, was killed by the bite of a poisonous, Wyld-mutated creature. He reached the Underworld, but left as soon as he could. With all the destruction and confusion caused by the influx of Contagion dead, it was easy to slip back into Creation. He found he couldn't stay in Creation for long, now addicted to the Wyld. He mostly explores it now, occasionally moving into Creation or the Underworld to trade essence and information.
He was born long after Wyr'palja's death, but told the circle the story of it. She was killed by her lunar lover, Iron Monsoon, who promptly killed himself. The dragon blooded who served them both took control of the city, quartering the body of Iron Monsoon for his treachery and sending the pieces to far ends of Creation. Many in the city, however, resented their rule and, after the official year of mourning passed, a force of dragon kings, god-blooded, spirits and mortals killed their terrestrial rulers.
Through his travels, Bezul knows that the tomb of Wyr'palja remained intact and eventually came under the control of Cahlenna, leader the Fair Folk's Opal Court. She moved the tomb around constantly, using it to bait lunars, which Bezul finds very distasteful. Recently, however, a legendary unshaped known as Kinaniz attacked Cahlenna and claimed the tomb for itself. Like all unshaped, Kinaniz is more like a region than an person, so to get to the tomb, the circle will need to enter into Kinaniz.
Guen interrupts Bezul at this point, suddenly interested if he knows anything about the Deathlords.
|Forest of Arms||30 August 2006|
Since Bezul hasn't spent much time in the Underworld, he knows very little of the Deathlords, but even he knows of the local authority in the Underworld, the Dowager of the Irreverent Vulgate in Unrent Veils. Her underworld citadel, the Mound of Forsaken Seeds, intrudes into Creation in the Noss Fens, a swap filled with shadowlands and undead. At the foot of her throne lies the Well of Udr, which drives mortals insane. She is known to hunt the living with a pack of hundreds of zombies and a soulsteel powerbow.
Bezul also remembers a time many centuries ago when eastern parts of the Scavenger Lands buzzed with rumors of a powerful figure known as Princess Magnificent with Lips of Coral and Robes of Black Feathers, also called the Black Heron. She meddled in the politics of some of the large cities for a while, but was driven out by three powerful spirits and hasn't been seen since.
The circle asked him more questions, including some about the sapphires and the Three Gated Cage, but Bezul knew nothing about them. Without much else to discuss, the circle piled into the Ingot and let Bezul lead them.
|Misty swamp||30 August 2006|
As the circle approaches a large mass of foliage held aloft by massive tree trunks nearly a mile high, Bezul warns them to stop. Kinaniz is defended from the air by a huge flight of dragons, making it safer to approach from the ground. The circle briefly considers just fighting the dragons, but decide that their vehicle would probably not survive, so they land in the foggy swamp below. Though it hides them from view from above, the fog prevents them from moving very rapidly. Gutts, in a rare moment of insight, decides to break out the Map of Azure Victory to see if any enemies approach.
Sure enough, within an hour, three dots appear on the map, converging on the vehicle. The circle decides to stop and set an ambush for them, with the vehicle as the bait. Their adversaries, however, didn't go for the vehicle, instead attracted by the essence from the charms of the circle. From three different directions, a trio of Fen Hounds attack.
|Misty swamp||7 September 2006|
Hampered by the terrain and the fog, neither of which seemed to trouble the dogs, the circle took a while to bring down the dogs, their hard skin and ferocious bites taking their toll. Some good shooting from Adrios, however, gave the circle the breathing room needed to take them down.