Friday, 28 January 2011
Cast: Mandan Bansl, Gryff Galan, Velimir Tito, Yolander van Zaar, and Toadface. Also, as NPCs, in order of appearance: Mr.Godfree, Master Septimus Arachnidus, Queen Ylvana, and Mistress Severa.
The following takes place between 8 Novium and 23 Novium, YE 1022.
Following their pilgrimage to the Temple of the Sacrifice, the cabal runs into an old acquaintance, before paying a visit to their friend in the North, thereafter Galan follows his doctor's advice; the captain's child is born, and Velimir goes hunting -- all while van Zaar works hard to keep time flowing.
In the gardens outside the White Tower the heroes spot Mr. Godfree talking to a figure in the shade. As they approach, the stranger departs, while Mr. Godfree turns to greet the magicians. As always, he is congenial and forthcoming, while van Zaar accuses him of being an Enemy of Creation. The Concordian says he's heard the heroes are seeking the Painted Man, and offers to facilitate a meeting. The price, he says, will be negotiated if and when his offer is taken up. Thereafter, as he reminds them that they are always welcome in his office, he takes his leave.
Meanwhile, Tito followed the mysterious figure who left the scene. Outwardly the figure appeared as a desert-rider, but where his eyes and mouth should have been there were holes poring out sand with every movement. The Draccian Theurge assumed this entity was a Nightmare of some sort -- following the War of Light, according to rumours, countless Nightmares roams the lands of the Hannumen. The Sand-man vanished into the desert, and Tito chose not to follow.
The White Tower was rebuilt by Morpheus after the fallen Daeva had been defeated, and as all Watchtowers, it is connected to the others. As Galan had been meaning to talk to Master Septimus about Severa joining the cabal in their attack on the Red Death, he now invited the other magicians to travel to the North. Being declared allies of the Ordo Hermetica, they were not hindered in their passing through the nexus of the Obsidian Tower, and quickly thereafter they were sitting at Septimus's table.
Lucius Septimus Arachnidus, High Master of the Seventh Hermetic House, has been a friend to the Pius Cabal since they first met, and now the talk flowed freely. His first question were what great heroic deeds the heroes had planned. They talked about the assault on the Thulist base on the moon, about the plague, and about other topics that connected to these. In the end, the cabal managed to extract Lucius's promise that his banner would join the attack on the moon-fortress.
While at the table, Toadface found out that Gryff had not seen his wife for more or less nine months, and that she was expecting a child. This did not go over well with the Pius's chief physician, and the captain was shamed into paying a visit to his family. Lucius, agreeing with Toadchief that a man should see his child, could inform of a shadow-path leading across the Wild, all the way to the Terema.
Thus it was that the cabal followed the Cairns across the vast tracts of wilderness called the Wild, and arrived at Aettagard. On their journey, Bansl made sure that each cairn they passed was devoted tohis god, Geminon.
The first time the heroes came to the Terema, Aettagard was just a few longhouses and a wooden palisade. Over the summer, on the queen's orders, the bustling town of Båteng had sprung up. So young the houses still smelled of fresh timber, it still bore signs of being the hub of a trading network -- even Erian goods could be found in stalls and shops.
The Pius Cabal made their way to the royal hall, and despite the magicians's curiosity, only Captain Galan was allowed to see the queen. Ylvana, pregnant and never more beautiful, had turned her bedchamber into an office, with room for three scribes, and numerous shelves filled with books, scrolls, and rune-sticks.
The first thing Ylvana asked was, "are they still here?" Gryff promptly cut off the Hive Mind spell, and thus locked the rest of the cabal out of the queen's chambers. He then asked when the child would come, and Ylvana answered, "when she is ready." Gryff could not conceal his surprise at this, as he had been sure his first child would be a boy. After they had completed the courtesies, the magician started telling his wife the stories of his adventures.
Van Zaar now decided that this would be a good time to let some time pass. As is the case when a Master of the Arcana of Time and Fate makes such a decision, time will pass. Fourteen days went by while the Pius Cabal visited the Terema. In this time Ylvana gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, and Gryff spent every hour with his wife and child.
The other magicians filled their days with such activities as they saw fit. Van Zaar, however, found he had no time to waste, for the Paradigm proved reluctant to just let time vanish. Throughout the fourteen days, he drank with anyone who could disrupt his fragile magics. In a trade-town, a royal seat, and now with a princess born, this was to prove to be a lot of work. No one could be allowed to set things in motion that would lead to any one of the Pius Cabal to start interacting with the outside world. And so he turned to an old Arcane tool, one he had not used since the cabal left the Dark Continent nine and a half months ago. He turned to alcohol and narcotics, and thus reawakened his addictions again.
Mandan was recruited Velimir and Toadface spent most of their time hunting, and not only did the Theurge manage to bind two Wargs to him, he also got to fell the Elk King. As he ascended to Mastery of the Spirit Arcanum on this hunt, he claimed several boons from his prey; from the great elk's hide he fashioned a cloak, from the antlers he made a new grip for his sword, and lastly he took on some of the animal's mental aspects. The meat and bones were used to serve the guests at the naming feast of the new-born.
The child was given many names, one from each of the menbers of the Pius Cabal, one from the parents, and her Truename was, on Toadface's advice, forever hidden. Only Ylvana knows how this was done.
To the naming feast came emissaries from across to Far North, as well as from Wezell, Pendrell, and of course from Master Arachnidus, and van Zaar had to drink harder to keep his spell from unravelling. When at long last the captain kissed his wife and daughter good bye, Yolander first had to get one of Toadface's famous massages, and spend some time in a sauna.
As the cabal prepared to leave the Terema, Galan checked to see if any of their contacts had any important news for them. Mistress Severa did, and she needed to know if the Pius Cabal intended to address the problem of the plague, and if they did, when they saw it fitting to do so.
As we leave the heroes for this time, they are travelling south, and are planning to scout out the Red Lands in preparation for their attack.
Storyteller's note: This time I have no notes to add. If you do, go ahead.
Actually, strike that, I do have something to add. Let me quickly tell you about how Gryff and Ylvana first met.
It all began during the summer of 1021, when Galan found a letter in his chest aboard the Pius. The letter was from the Blackstaff, and it urged the cabal to sail north, to where the"eclipse-born babe" was awaiting. As he plotted the course to take them far beyond the edge of the map, he swore that "if she is is pretty I will marry her." She was, and six months later, as the cabal was about to release the dragon on the Five Forts, they were wed. Since then they have met only a few times, and Ylvana knows that while her husband cares for her very much, he does not love her.
Now, I'm sure the good captain will have a different version of the story, but there it is.
For more information about the Terema, you could read these letters from a Black Friar.
[Picture source: 1 frankinglia on Flikr; 2 Varde]