Tales from the Inner Sea

Cold acquaintances of times past

The slightly inebriated but happy trio of Bucephala Clangula, szletko and Czerlai head off to find sport and entertainment, for the night is yet young. Meanwhile Abbas Jalil and Varediis Eloi have spent an evening at Cassio of Padiha‘s chambers playing boardgames and talking. Cassio himself has been walking his sister Menia Ansprand home through the quieter streets to his family home. Suddenly, at all three locations, the temperatures drop sharply from the balmy autumnal to the freezing, as a blast of cold air, the appearing of frost and rime on buildings and windows and a darkening of the locales heralds something eldritch and sinister. Incorporeal spirits appear from the shadows, with one appearing at Abbas’ and Cassios locations and 3 appearing where the merry trio are. The spectral figures are of translucent Shen (the peoples of the Northern Menetian hills and mountains), each bearing hideous and appalling signs of their violent end. The characters have scant moments to make ready before the foul spirits attack, with the trio casting defensive Protection spells, Abbas casting a quick Damage Boosting spell and Cassio making ready with his 2 handed sword.

The spirits move faster than thought and attack, with their spectral limbs causing horrid images and sensations of their last painful memories of life to appear in the thoughts and bodies of the party. The images are all of them being slain and eaten by Dark Trolls, much as the tragic spirits endured. The fights are desperate, as the party realise that their armour and Protection spells are useless against the damage caused. Bucephala roars for help at the top of his voice and manages to get his repeating crossbow free and starts firing at the one attacking him, calling upon the power of Zoggs Claws to glamour the bolts. Just as well he does, for the party find out quickly that only magic can harm these apparitions and the Firearrow powered bolts start harming his foe. At this point the topaz stone worn by Czerlai glows warmly against his freezing cold chest for a moment. The party take wounds, with Szletko and Abbas being felled with bad injuries in their limbs, and Czerlai holding grimly onto consciousness despite bad injuries in his body. Varediis fights as well as he can, but with no magic on his sword he can do nothing to sway the foul spirit attacking Abbas.

Suddenly, at the fight in the street with the trio and the 3 spirits, a loud voice roars to Czerlai that his spear is now empowered, just as Bucephalas third Firearrowed bolt destroys his spectral foe. In the doorway of the nearby Golden Sunrise inn (where they met Sara and the others earlier) the owner of the loud voice can be seen; it is the large muscular figure of the Militant Sunfather they saw at the inn earlier that evening, holding his spea but clad only in his smallclothes. Sure enough, when Czerlai draws his spear, he sees (through his Mystic Vision) that it is empowered by a Divine spell of some kind. The beleagered Szletko has by now had both his legs crippled and lies on the floor. However, the arrival of the Priest, the fierce desperate strikes of the Flamebladed spear of Szletko and the Truespeared weapons of the Priest and Czerlai turn the battle in the street. The Priest also stops a moment to heal Czerlai, who was perilously close to death. With one strike Szletko destroys his foe, and with a pass from The Lady’s Grace Bucephala releases the last one locked in combat with Czerlai. Meanwhile, Abbas is felled and fighting from the floor, before passing his sword up to Varediis who lays into the phantom, destroying it with 2 blows (it had already been substantially weakened by Abbas previously).

With their foes destroyed, the trio are hastily healed by staff of the Golden Sunrise and the Priest, one Sunfather Militant Ascaus Medrenna. His order is one of the many Religious and Holy Orders of the Inner Sea. They quickly head off with the priest in tow to locate Cassio, and sure enough discover him surrounded by curious townsfolk, having used the magical 2 handed sword to destroy his own foe. Now, the group travel on to see how Abbas and Varediis have fared. They find the 2 recovering from their own encounter, and soon the party realise they were attacked by evil spirits likely summoned by a Shen Shaman to punish them for the theft (ignorance was no excuse in Shen eyes) of their treasured clan artifacts. The Sunfather also advises them that they had just fought Wraiths, no small feat to have withstood the cold evil of such entities. He also (having had experience of fighting such evil before) advises them that these Spirits of Reprisal will not likely trouble them again, for it is no small thing for a bad Shaman to send such against the living. The party offer their thanks to the Priest, who merely states its what he does, and that they should get some rest. Bucephala suggests catching up the next day for early morning services; the Priest is pleased to hear this and agrees, before heading back to his lodgings.

The party decide the night time pleasures of Padiha are not for them this night after such a ghostly encounter, and turn in. The next day Bucephala and a grateful Czerlai go to experience the morning prayers (the Altai going as a mark of respect and thanks and for no other reason), Szletko and Varediis take the 4 horses out for a morning exercise through the pleasant autumnal river valley, and Abbas pays a visit to Trienus to discuss sorcerous matters. The morning prayers to Nerukata are delivered with passion and joy by the incumbent priest as Bucephala, Czerlai and Sunfather Ascaus watch on (and singing with gusto in the latter case). The three have a conversation after the service, and Bucephala hears a little more of the Mendicant Warrior Priests life and ways; food for thought he considers. Sunfather Ascaus talks of his imminent return to the Empire to see his orders Grand Master, and he talks animatedly and passionately of the Hama Encanda (the Great Temple and centre of worship for Nerukata and one of The 8 Imperial Wonders) and the sight of it when seen at sunset or sunrise. He wishes the pair of them and their friends well, and hopes to see them again soon, advising them that he can be found at the Golden Sunrise or contacted through the Temple whilst still within Padiha. Once he leaves, the pair head to the markets to buy a few things, like a new dagger, some more honey and other needful things; they also breakfast on grilled prawns and shrimp in a spicy sauce bought from a stall vendor.

The morning ride for Szletko and Varediis is pleasant, bracing and entirely invigorating after the nights troubles, and the ubiquity of mercenaries within Padiha is now quite evident, passing a number of them doing things like patrolling for the citystate or guarding merchant caravans and properties. These mercenaries seem to come from all over the known world, with Altai, Bassuri, Menetian and even Shen to name but a few (no reaction there, either a different tribe than encountered or ignorant).

Abbas talks with Trienus for a while, asking after learning more sorcery from here if she is amenable. She does advise him it would take a week and 350 lara to learn a new spell from her, but her advice is for him to seek out a sorceror and become an apprentice to learn much more. To that end she offers him for her to write a letter of introduction to her own Master, a Sorceress called Adeline Kothui (sometimes called Black Adeline) within the Empire. He must talk over the groups plans first, but he thanks her for the offer and that he will return after speaking to them.

They all meet up again in late morning (Cassio is still with his family at this point) and discuss what to do. They are able to contact Sabius about the wolf pelt sales, and are pleased that the 80 lara per pelt is still an offer on the table. They make a tidy sum of 1200 lara from the proceeds, and now their minds turn to thoughts of travel to the Empire. After checking with the Harbourmasters Office, they ascertain that there are at least 10-15 ships heading for the Empire and its various ports and cities on any given day, so transport may not be a problem. Before that happens they need to speak to Cassio and see what his plans are and what help (if any) his family can be in their passage to the Empire…

Comments

Shen spirits come to wreak vengeance upon us. They give us horrible visions of being ripped apart by black trolls, and their icy touch chills me to the core. Armour and protection spells grant us none of the expected benefits. However, some accurate shooting from Bucephela’s crossbow soon banishes one of them. Then a priest of Nerukata pitches into battle to help us, surely saving Szletko who is lying on the ground.The priest also empowers my spear so I can manage to fend off the spirit attacking me, before Bucephela uses his sword and the final spirit departs with a whimper.

Others of our party have also been attacked, but all live, barely. The priest is kind enough to heal us all of our wounds, and I visit his morning service to demonstrate my thanks, for without him last night’s encounter may have had a very different ending.

Now to decide when we want to find out what lies ahead on our journey into the empire…

Cold acquaintances of times past
 

Well. Perhaps I must revise the opinion of myself as a weak fighter. I more than held my own against those foul shades, even once my magical firebolts were exhausted. I am not the meek priest I took myself for, it would seem.

I am impressed by the Sunfather. His calling seems to me a noble one and virtuous. Mayhap Nerukata has shown me a possible destiny for my own existence at this opportune time? Food for thought at any rate!

Cold acquaintances of times past
AndyGlen

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