The Nature of Things

Once More We are Bereft :(

Alas, Wuffy was without Internet/busy this weekend, so again nothing more happened :(.

No Sessions

Alas, Wuffy was without Internet this weekend :(.

The Greenfeathers
While the gathered people talk, strange birds appear...

Mort suggests that he go to look for Chesso, the horse, but one of the humans says that there is a sheer drop in the direction Chesso ran, and that they heard him go over it. An unusual-looking bird suddenly lands nearby – a raven with a greenish sheen to its wings. It looks at the group for a while, then flies over to the wagon and appears to scrutinise the dead snakes. As Mirrip is talking to the shocked group of humans and the halfling, and Shiraka is prowling around keeping watch nearby, only Gregg and Mort see this bird – Gregg approaches it and tries to speak to it, but after looking at him for a few moments, it suddenly flies off again, calling loudly as it disappears from view beyond the trees. This puts Gregg and Mort on alert, as they think the bird seemed rather too intelligent, and now could be calling for some kind of back-up.
Shiraka hears the calls of the bird and comes over to ask about it, having missed seeing it due to her own line of sight being blocked by foliage. Gregg describes the raven and Shiraka seems to relax, saying that they have nothing to worry about but not elaborating on this, apparently assuming that Gregg will already know why the raven poses no threat. Gregg misses this, saying that the group should be careful and describing the bird’s behaviour, saying he doesn’t trust it. Shiraka is a little surprised at this attitude, and realises that there is something he’s neglected to speak to someone about back in Farwatch – this raven it turns out, is a type known as a “Greenfeather raven”, and is one of an unknown number who are companions to Kargak’s druid friend, and are the ones the two of them use to convey their messages, Kargak reportedly doing so by writing his words down and attaching them to the bird’s leg.
Shiraka puts the matter aside now, saying it is likely that the bird has gone to inform the druid (a member of the Circle) of what has happened. She then quitly broaches the matter of the nearby corpses, saying they should be disposed of in some way lest they attract any scavengers which may be in the area, and as this place is new to the group, they have no way of knowing what kind of creatures may be lurking in the region. She suggests that they make a pile of the bodies and Gregg burns them with his fire. Mort firmly says that the bodies should be put into the wagon and taken to wherever the people want them to go. Shiraka points out that it is likely that help will come at some point (as suggested by the previous presence of the raven), and that therefore it would be best to stay put for the time being. In which case, something should be done about the corpses before they start to rot. Mort is firm on the matter of the people being told about this, and since he makes no move to go and tell them, Shiraka goes to do so herself.
She approaches them and inquires as to whether they know about the Greenfeather ravens – Lirris says he’s heard about them. She tells him that she has seen one and that it is likely help is on its way and that they should therefore stay to wait for its arrival. She then, rather bluntly, asks what they want done with the bodies. They go into a private huddle to discuss the matter. Mirrip leaves them to it and stands nearby, keeping watch. Shiraka moves around to the other side of the group to do the same.
Gregg asks Mirrip how the people are doing, and the half-elf replies that they seem about as unhappy as might be expected in such a situation. He then makes a similar suggestion to Shiraka (not having heard her when she spoke to Gregg and Mort previously) regarding the bodies – that something should be done about them, and for the same reasons Shiraka suggested. He explains that murafu bodies are simply put somewhere out-of-the way, either into an unused burrow or cave, or pushed off a cliff or similar.
After a short while, Lirris (apparently acting as the spokesperson for the group) says that they think it would be best to stay put, as it seems highly likely that the Circle will know about their predicament (through the druid and her ravens) and come to help them. He mentions that his brother is a member of the Circle and works somewhere in the region, and goes on to say that he thinks returning home would probably be the best thing for them to do now. He also says that the group will say their final goodbyes to their friends and then asks that the bodies be disposed of in some way – Gregg agrees to burn them, and so Shiraka goes off and begins to gather firewood – Lirris and the humans soon join her, and she and Mirrip keep an eye on them while they search.
The plan is to move the wagon along the road a little way, setting up a pyre near the scene of the fight and burning the bodies. The group can then move back a little way along the road and set up camp there to wait for the arrival of the Circle.
Meanwhile, several Greenfeather ravens seem to have shown up, and are perched on various boulders and tree branches, croaking quietly amongst themselves and apparently watching the group. When Gregg points this out, one of the humans simply says “The Circle is watching us” – all of them seem to become a little more relaxed at this and appear relieved.

The survivors of the snake attack emerge

As there seems to be no sign of any other snakes attacking, the group has a look around for any other survivors – they are discovered to be hiding inside the wagon, under its cover, while three dead humans lie nearby. The halfling who first found the group comes over. The halfling is quite young, as is the first human to emerge from the wagon – both male. The human seems in his twenties. He is soon joined (from the wagon) by a somewhat older woman, another man who looks similar to the first (at least to Gregg, a fellow human), and a younger human, probably in his mid-teens.
The halfling explains that they were headed toward somewhere called Greenhill, having come from the village of Emerlan. These are places the group recalls seeing on signposts along the part of the road they’ve traversed so far.
Mortaar inquires about one of the corpses – that of an unarmed man, slumped against a rock (the same rock the wagon has hit). One of the humans (the one who emerged from the wagon first) explains that the dead man’s name was Perris, and that he had gone on ahead with one of the guards, Shemmen, and then stopped for a rest – Shemmen’s corpse is also nearby, another male human, lying nearby, closer to the group. When the wagon caught up with them, something startled its horse, Chesso, who bolted, causing the wagon to collide with a rock and the harness to break, the horse disappearing into the undergrowth. The people then found the bodies of Perris and Shemmen and the remaining guard, Daree (a human female), went to look around and was also struck down by the snakes. The rest of the group then sought cover inside the wagon, except for Lirris, the halfling, who was too far away to reach it and instead turned and ran back to get help – fortunately managing to find some soon after.
The man explains all this in a reasonably calm voice, but is clearly in a state of shock at the events, as are the others – they had only been travelling to visit friends and generally to talk to people, and none of the survivors are fighters or even have any kind of weapons on them – they could never have stood a chance against the snakes themselves.
Gregg escorts the group a little way away from the wagon, asking Mirrip and Shiraka to accompany him while he suggests that Mort try to dislodge the wagon. The wagon contains travel supplies and Gregg retrieves some food to share around the humans and halfling. They generally seem in a state of shock and not really sure what to do at the moment. Gregg isn’t too sure what he can do for them, and while Mirrip talks to them quietly about random things, the wizard has a word with Shiraka, who simply explains that her people’s views on death might be viewed as “insensitive” by others.
Mort, meanwhile, manages to move the wagon back away from the rock a little. The minotaur isn’t too happy about the actions of the people, believing that they shouldn’t have hidden away from the snakes, but not thinking that they had no ability to fight them and would have been killed very quickly.

Setting Forth, and Snakes
The group departs Farwatch, and has an encounter with some venomous foes

The group makes their farewells to the people of Farwatch, and sets forth early from the village along the eastern road to head to the elven town of Shaeroth. After a few hours of walking through pleasant but uneventful countryside, a young male halfling suddenly runs up to them, ourt of breath and urgently pleading for help, saying that “The guards are dead and everyone else is hiding…”, though doesn’t add too much elaboration beyond the fact that his attackers are “crawling about” and have fangs.
Mortaar immediately charges off down the road. Shiraka and Mirrip follow, if only to keep close enough to the minotaur that they can assist him with whatever trouble he’s likely to now be charging into. Gregg remains behind a moment to acquire further details and so discovers that the halfling’s group has been attacked by large snakes – Shiraka and Mirrip are still near enough to hear this but Mort has already gone too far ahead. Gregg takes off after them, leaving the out-of-breath halfling behind, and catches up with the group after they’ve reached the site of the attack.
There is a horseless wagon which appears to have collided with a large rock, several dead bodies, and, more importantly, two large, fanged snakes which attack the party. They are Deathrattle Vipers, and after a fairly intense battle the group emerges victorious, though in Mortaar’s case, a little the worse for wear.

One More Visit to Kargak
The group visits the dwarf one more time...

Mortaar fetches the others from the tavern, and the head over to Kargak’s house – Sid answers the door and they go in to find Kargak sitting in his main room. The dwarf welcomes them and asks them to sit down – when the group has done so, he starts explaining his discoveries.
The knife taken from the necromancer seems to have been imbued with some kind of magical effect similar to that granted by the “Gentle Repose” ritual – when used to cut into a corpse, it preserve the body for quite some time, but unlike the ritual does not prevent it from being risen as an undead being. Kargak informs the group that he has taken the liberty of destroying the knife, converting its magical energies into residuum (most or all of which he has probably already used in enchanting the group’s armour). The mention of residuum attracts Gregg’s attention, but he is politely reminded that Kargak has done plenty for the group already.
Kargak moves on, then, to the matter of the snake pendant. He could find no magic in it, and has sent it away to his Circle contact – she has reported back to confirm that the item isn’t magical, and has also used her own magics on it to try and deduce which species the blood on it belongs to – so far, it seems it isn’t a species she’s familiar with.
Mort inquires as to whether the Circle, or the land of Embrachal as a whole, has any known enemies – Kargak replies that though the land is large, the Circle is not, and mainly comprises a relatively small number of fairly powerful individuals who inhabit various areas of the three main regions of the land. As such, the Circle would not be strong enough, at this time, to fend off any kind of large-scale attack, were one to take place. Gregg asks whether the snake symbol could be religious in some way, and while Kargak replies that neither he nor his contact would know (she being of a Primal nature), he says that the pendant will most likely be sent on to other members of the Circle for their investigation – it is better to investigate it fully and turn up little of consqeuence than to ignore it and find it was simply one small sign of a much greater impending trouble.
Kargak also mentions that his friend has felt some kind of “unease” in the natural world – at this, Shiraka speaks up and says that she’s felt something similar. Since the problem seems to be felt by those close to Nature, Kargak suggests that perhaps it would be an idea for the group to seek out such people. He knows of a town inhabited by elves in the nearby forest and says that perhaps travelling there might be a good idea. There is also the possibility of other settlements, off the road, but Kargak doesn’t know where any might be found. His own contact is rather out-of-the-way, so might be equally difficult to get to. He says that the best place to go for information and to contact the Circle would be the city of Raevin, the main city of the Southlands. However, this is several hundred miles away and probably therefore a rather unrealistic goal for the near future. He reminds the group that as Farwatch is probably the westernmost (known) settlement in the Southlands (and therefore furthest from the main cities), communicating news is somewhat difficult. It is likely that it is only because of the actions of the group that the Circle has come to know of the bandit camp (and what now remains of it) and of any activities surrounding it.
Kargak goes on to say that he would like to travel to pass on such news himself, and also has expressed a desire to join the Circle himself at some point (something which would require him to travel to Raevin). However, he wonders whether leaving Farwatch at this time would be a good idea, as if anything should suddenly attack the village, he and Sid would hopefully be effective at protecting the people. He gives the group directions to the elven town of Shaeroth, located two or three days’ walk from Farwatch. He says he will remain where he is and try to keep updated on any news – he says that he fears the group may end up finding themselves getting into something rather bigger than they thought, in which case he supposes it may be unlikely they’ll return to Farwatch.
Their plans decided, Kargak moves on to the matter of their upgraded armour, which he takes from a nearby storage chest. Each member of the group has their armour returned to them, each with some kind of magical property added. The group thanks the dwarf and shortly afterwards takes their leave of him. Then it’s simply a matter of explaining things to Ulrik and spending one more night in Farwatch in preparation for their departure the following morning.

No Session

No sessions were held this weekend due to Wuffy being busy :(.

Last Free Day in Farwatch
The group continues to spend the day taking their ease...

While Gregg and Mirrip are enjoying the company of the group of murafu they’ve found, Mort and Shiraka have remained in Farwatch – they head over to the training area within the surrounding walls of the Circle outpost and discuss the nature of spirits. Mort asks Shiraka about how she came to “acquire” her own spirit companion, and she explains that she discovered, when she was young, that she had a constant awareness of the natural spirits around her, and with the help of her people (many of whom already had contact with such spirits – wielders of the Primal forces are hardly rare among Shifters) eventually found a bond with one spirit in particular. She retains a constant awareness that spirits exist all around her, but she explains this is not a distraction as they don’t impede her vision or hearing or other senses in any way – she then admits this explanation may seem a little vague but it’s not something that’s easy to describe to someone who hasn’t experienced it.
Mort goes on to describe his failed attempt at meditation the previous night, saying he couldn’t detect anything. Shiraka suggests that perhaps he was going about the process in the wrong way, possibly not thinking in quite the right direction. She tries to explain further how she believes he can contact the spirit within him, but also concedes that she has no personal experience of touching one of these spirits since only those who possess them can do so and that the spirits she can reach are those formed from the elements, not from raw emotion. She suggests that Mort’s spirit came into existence out of the constant anger and rage among his people as they fought each other, based on his previous descriptions of them and his implications that they are frequently violent. Shiraka finally suggests that if he has no further luck finding the spirit himself, perhaps the host of another such spirit (ie another barbarian) can offer the assistance she cannot, by explaining things in a way that will work for him and that perhaps he’ll better understand. She urges him not to give up on the meditation, though, but as Mort has already found the process somewhat relaxing he says he’ll probably still continue.
After training for a while, the two then head back to the inn to get some lunch. They sit and talk of more mundane things for a while, sitting against the tree outside the tavern until Mirrip returns, ahead of Gregg who has gone to pay a brief visit to the general trader. Mirrip gives Mort the carving made by the murafu he met earlier (for Mort to give to Meeka), this one a little larger than the ones the group already possess, and gnawed into a rough depiction of Mort himself. Gregg then shows up with the two new belt pouches he’s acquired, these on lengths of string so they can be worn around the neck – one is for Mort’s carving, the other for Meeka’s.
While Gregg and Mirrip go to get food and Shiraka joins them for something to do, Mort excuses himself and goes off to find Meeka, first asking at Ulrik’s house to get directions to where she lives, then going to her house and asking her mother. As he turns from here, he sees Sid approaching, and ackowledges the homunculus, who turns and walks back toward Kargak’s house – it seems the dwarf is ready to speak with the group. Mort then locates Meeka, playing with some other children around the trees between the inn and Kargak’s house – he hands her the pouch containing the little figurine and she is overjoyed at the gift, giving Mort a huge hug. He explains that the carving was made by some people called murafu, and she interprets the first syllable as a “moo” sound and assumes these people are cow-people, like Mort, and then amends this to “little” cow-people when he mentions their size. He doesn’t correct her assumptions on their race, however, and bids her farewell. He then decides to head back to the tavern to report to the others that Kargak is ready to see them.

Taking it Easy
Gregg and Mirrip go for a walk...

After talking to Herford for a while about Farwatch, Embrachal, and the Circle, the group takes an opportunity to generally relax and take things easy while they wait for an update from Kargak. Shiraka has found a place to sleep among the strange gnarled trees beside the dwarf’s house, and so spends the night there. Mirrip goes for a walk around Farwatch while Gregg studies his spells and Mortaar attempts to carry out Shiraka’s suggestion of meditating in the privacy of his room – however, his attempts to concentrate on thoughts of his sword and how it feels to fight don’t produce any apparent results.
The next day, Shiraka meets the group in the tavern for breakfast, then agrees to join Mort as he heads off for training. Meanwhile, Mirrip decides to head out of the village for a walk – Gregg decides to accompany him and the two head north past the inn, waking the short distance to the banks of the nearby Farflow, beside which a watermill works. From here, they follow the river east for about an hour, Mirrip searching as they go for signs of any murafu who may be living nearby – they are in luck, and the half-elf soons finds evidence of some living in the area. A little further along, they finally find one, who after a happy greeting shows them to where the rest of his group live – Gregg and Mirrip receive a greeting much like the one they had from the group near Downdale.
They sit and talk to this group of murafu for a while and Mirrip remembers to ask them to create a carving in the shape of a minotaur for Mort to give to Meeka. While one murafu starts working on this, the rest continue to cluster around Gregg and Mirrip, happily chatting about the area and about any recent happenings – this group hasn’t noticed anything odd lately, and a couple of them, who have recently arrived from the Downdale group, have already met Mirrip and are happy that the “dead-that-walk” are no longer around in that village.
Generally, this group seems as content as the other group Gregg has met, and they are happy to answer any questions he wants to ask. Though they haven’t heard anything regarding the bandits (either their taking of prisoners or the destruction of the camp), they say they’ll keep an eye out for anything interesting – no murafu have come from the west for a while, so no news has reached them from that direction just yet.

Return to the Shining Moon
The group take their rooms at the inn...

Having left Kargak’s house, the group now has a day or two to waste before the dwarf finishes with the things they’ve left him. hey head back to the Shining Moon to inform Herford that Ulrik has granted them free rooms for the duration of their stay. Shiraka declines, however, preferring to spend her time under the open sky. While Herford goes up to prepare their rooms, the goup takes seats at one of the tables and talks for a while. Shiraka tells Mort that she wishes to speak to him when he has time. When Herford takes the rest of the group upstairs to show them their rooms, she instead leaves the inn to wait for them outside.
Herford shows the remaining three upstairs, opening the door to one room and making sure they find everything is satisfactory – the rooms are small and contain little more than a bed and a storage chest, as well as a red cloth for leaving on or beside the door as a kind of “Do not disturb” sign. There are also no locks on the doors – the trusting and trustworthy nature of the majority of Embrachal’s inhabitants make such things mostly unnecessary. Mort, Gregg, and Mirrip all express satisfaction with their rooms and Herford returns downstairs. The three then enter their rooms, leaving most of their equipment behind, before returning to the inn’s main room.
While Gregg and Mirrip remain in the inn to ask Herford about Farwatch and the surrounding region, Mort heads outside to meet with Shiraka, who is sitting beneath a nearby tree. She says that she wants to talk to him regarding his rage, and since he had previously implied such a thing was a rather personal subject for him, she has decided that he might prefer to speak about it in private.
Shiraka explains that she believes the power of his rages may stem from a source not entirely his own – she says that as well as spirits of nature and the elements, there also exist spirits of pure emotion and that it is highly possible that one has made its “home” within Mort, bonding with him at some point possibly in his youth or at his birth (though not affecting his personality in any way – its joining with him will have been because he already possessed the potential for a fiery temper, rather than causing him to develop one). She emphasises that if this has happened, the spirit has no control over him and intends him no harm – if Mort were to die, the spirit would also be destroyed, so it would not be in its interests to cause him trouble. Shiraka goes on to say that when Mort “gives in” to his rage, what he is in fact doing is opening himself to the spirit inside him, letting it act through him, unleashing its power into the world through his actions. When Mort’s rage ends, the spirit, its power temporarily spent, is weakened, and because of its link to the minotaur must wait for him to sleep before it can recover its strength.
Shiraka suggests that if there is indeed a rage spirit living within Mortaar, were he to look within himself and acknowledge its presence this might strengthen their bond and cause him to feel greater control over himself whenever he rages. She suggests two possible ways to do this – one would be to attempt to detect the spirit’s influence at the moment he enters a rage, though obviously this would probably be rather difficult given the circumstances under which this usually happens. The other method would be for Mort to take some time when alone and undistracted, so that he could sit and focus on himself, thinking about the nature of his rage and how it feels – were he to do this, it might rouse the spirit enough for him to feel its presence, though it would have no means to actually speak with him, being basically a tangible personification of rage and with little else to it besides this.
Having been told all this, Mort says he’ll certainly think about it and thanks Shiraka for bringing it up as he’d never previously thought about where the power of his rages came from. The shifter replies that she’s interested to hear of any discoveries he might make regarding the possible existence of this spirit. When Mort asks her if she wants to return to the inn, she declines, saying she’d prefer to take a walk by herself for now, and explore the local area a little. The two part company, Shiraka walking away, and Mort re-entering the inn to see what the others are doing.


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