Old Kingdom : The Forsaken

The Enthralled Darkness

We are in the rowan tree.

The Abhorsens sense that the Dead have moved further away so we decide to come out of the tree. Arielle was not doing so well in the rowan tree since it seems to be bad for Dead. Roxy suggests we take some of the tree with us but Muriel notes we would have to be encased in it to shield us from the Dead.

Roxy uses her Sight to point us in the right direction again to the cave. Evie finds the cave first though. Corian calls out the Whispered Dark witches in the cave to announce us. A voice tells Corian to take off his shirt and he obliges with gusto.

The witches come out and apologize, saying it's difficult to know who to trust. We introduce ourselves and are taken aback by Arielle but surprisingly aren't particularly wary of her. They invite us into the cave to talk about Herne.

One of the witches' main purposes is to protect a tree that housed a monster. It is called Sae-oth. Now that Sae-oth is released he has gained control of many of the witches. They think Herne probably got away. In order to free witches we will have to remove or destroy the backwood hearts from them individually or kill/imprison Sae-oth again. Sae-oth is probably looking for the weapon that defeated Ashol'tha.

There's approximately ten infected witches. We decide to wait out the night with the witches so the Dead will be weakened during the daylight hours.

The witches accompany us in the morning. Roxy gets up in a tree and notices a shimmer of Charter spells around the village ahead. It's probably some sort of magical warning system. Roxy stealths forward to get a closer look. There are fours witches with a fifth one tied to a stake. There is a wriggling mass of vines moving toward the restrained witch.

We go ahead and charge into the fray to save the witch. And then a bunch of Dead Hands bust out of the ground. There is a mordicant too! Evie manages to get most of the Dead to walk into Death after the rest of the party beat them up some.

We manage to free the witches from the vines and we untie the witch on the stake. Corrian ventures into the village and calls our for Herne. There is a house that is supposedly imprisoning Herne. Evie throws Corrian a key and it unlocks. Corrian peaks in and hears Herne telling some ladies that they need to make the best of the time they have left.

After a few minutes Herne emerges, adjusting his clothes. He embraces Corrian warmly. Corrian tells Herne that Sae-oth is free. There are introductions.

Herne asks for a mirror from one of the witches. Apparently it will teleport you and it's somehow related to Clayr magic. We need to figure out if Sae-oth has gone through to The Forest Below.

We go through the mirror and into The Forest Below. It looks like a root system and is dimly lit. There's some innocuous bioluminescent creatures and an earthy scent of rich soil. It is oddly warm down here. We find some large footprints that belong to an 8-10ft tall reptilian creature by Evie's estimation.

After we've been walking for a mile or two we come upon a valley full of skeletons and rusted armor. It is the remains of an old battle. There is an ornate large box with a small sun in it that lights this place in the middle of the valley.

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The Whispered Darkness

Diperan comes along with us on the back of a wyvern. It doesn't look quite like a real one though – it seems like a Free Magic creature, not a Charter Magic construct. A lot of the gear he has on the thing has Charter marks on it though.

We head toward Weylyn. They have an airship dock. Diperan and his wyvern are able to keep pace with the airship. When we land the wyvern follows Diperan dutifully. Weylyn is the seat of the local mages' guild, but it has nothing to do with the Royal mage Corps that Finn belongs to. Here Herne was trying to make peace between the local mages and the Witches of Rowan Hollow.

Corian, Muriel, and Evie go to talk to the mages while the others go to the bar. The mages' guild is the largest building in town with ornate carvings and embellishments on the architecture, including Charter marks. The guild is lively this time of day. Corian has been here a few times before. We get misdirected by a bunch of bureaucracy. We finally get to the Dean of the business office just past noon.

A person in magenta robes adorned with both Free and Charter magic symbols greets us. There were a lot of Undead rising when Herne was taken during treaty negotiations and the only witnesses are still recovering. We are given a map of the area with markings of where the Witches are and another point of interest where the mages guild was investigating something. There seems to be fair amount of animosity between the two groups. The incident was about a week ago.

The Dean says that the Witches wouldn't let them cut a single tree down if they had their way. We go visit the Department of Artifacts and Entities. Evie persistently knocks after not getting an answer. The door slowly opens on its own. Evie barges in. An unkempt man in black and gold robes is inside. She asks him if he knows Herne. The man in the black robes knows of Herne at least. Evie claims we were sent by the monks.

Corian chats up the man (his name is Squelch) and he gets up and closes the door like he doesn't want to be overheard. Squelch says there is a large tree that the guild is interested in that has an artifact in it, and it may lead to The Forest Below. Evie knows that underneath forests are a thing in local mythtologies. The reason why they might want to get to The Forest Below is an old battle created the Barrens on the other side of the island. A bunch of magical artifacts caused all the rowan trees to grow and they suspect there may be caverns underneath where the magic artifacts are still intact and the roots are feeding them.

There is a portal that may lead to the Forest Below or simply be in the Forest Below. The tree of interest is to the northeast of the village.

The whole group heads to the infirmary to examine the sleeping witnesses. There are mages with white robes with red trim. Unfortunately we forgot to ask the names of the witnesses to Herne's disappearance. Evie says we are here to see if we can wake up the "sleeping" soldiers that were brought back after the Undead attack. A first aid mage sees our Bells and happily accepts our offer to help. They say they've exhausted Charter magic based options already.

Evie and Muriel examine the soldiers. Our Dead Sense does not go off. Evie feels that Ranna has power over them right now. She uses Mosrael to wake them and both gasp heavily, gulping in air like they haven't breathed in awhile.

They don't know what happened to Herne – there was a lot of confusion. Evie tells them to start at the beginning. "What did we unleash?!" One of them starts crying, they are in extreme distress. Roxy uses some Charter marks to help calm them. "They said Sae-Oth was in the tree!!" The Witches warned them but the mages tried to cut it down to get an artifact anyway. But this Undead creature made the forest come alive and creatures attached themselves to their friends and made them turn on their allies. The parasites were like vines that wrapped around the humans. Sae-Oth was a huge shadowy creature with red eyes and a mouth that dripped fire. Herne may have gone with the Witches and ran. The Witches started singing which made them fall asleep.

The woken mages say Sae-Oth was a myth. It's supposed to be the herald of the thing that devastated the island so long ago. The last time it took armies to fight it off – and this thing was called Ashol'tha. Evie writes a note to the mages' guild about the state of the awakened's trauma.

Roxy says the Witches in her Vision that sang at her had vines on them like the parasite things the awakened mages described. Roxy meditates to look for non-infected Witches. She hears some different singing far off. She Sees a cave in the forest with three Witches. Two are speaking nervously to each other while one keeps watch. Roxy comes out of it without a headache.

We decide to send a note to the presumably uninfected Witches in the cave to warn them that we are coming and we are friendly. Muriel uses her crafting skills to fold a crane construct to hone in our targets.

We tell our other traveling companions what we plan to do. Arielle and the Disreputable Dog decide to come with us. As we go into the woods the Dog smells something "that shouldn't exist." The Dog seems disturbed at the mention of Sae-Oth. She says "that would explain the Third Kindred" and won't explain what she means. Then the Dog runs away into the woods towards the direction we are heading. The Third Kindred are from the time of Orannis from before the Charter was formed.

We start hearing the singing and like Bells we can't shut it out. Corian, Evie, and Roxy start to stumble like they are drowsy. They are under the effects of drowsy. Muriel rings Mosrael which counters it but alerts the Dead in the area to our exact location. We run away! Evie notices a hollow tree that we can squeeze into and hide. It's a rowan tree that has magical properties and will probably shield us from detection to a certain extent. Arielle seesm to be hurt by the tree to a certai extent but Evie casts a shielding spell on her that seems to help.

We hear voices outside the tree arguing. It sounds like they are splitting up to look for us. The footsteps get further away. Muriel feels the presence of a dozen dead split into two groups, plus a living person in each group.

We cower in the tree for awhile.

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Reunion
"You went out for a bro brew and got into a bar brawl!"

After tea it is time to go to Corian's family home for dinner. Bronwyn pointedly takes Corian's arm on our way back and Finn sulks at the back of the posse.

 As we arrive a tall muscular man in robes does too. He and Corian greet each other and embrace. Diparen asks if Corian has found a wife yet. Diparen kisses the backs of everyone's hands (Evie, Finn, Roxy, and Muriel but Bronwyn does not let him). Corian tells Diparen that we are looking for some knowledge from the church. Diparen says Herne, Corian's mentor, has been missing for awhile. Herne went to investigate the Witches of Rowan Hollow on his own and has been missing for a week – he should have returned four days ago. 

Inside Corian's mother calls him her "baby boy" and she asks who the lucky girl is and Bronwyn volunteers it is her. Bronwyn gives her a hug and Diparen and Prolius look very surprised. Diparen asks Roxy about the Knight Blades and she is very cool about it. Diparen tells Roxy a story she has heard from Corian before but somehow it is completely new to her when Diparen is telling it. In the kitchen Prolius asks Corian about Bronwyn. Diparen sits himself between Evie and Roxy.

The Witches are practioners of Free Magic and not so much with the Charter. Diparen says they have an "uneasy" alliance with the Witches. Herne went to meet the Witches because he was trying to make peace with them after a few disputes with the border guards. Corian says Herne is a "master" of martial fighting with magic. The Witches were upset with the people of the town of Weyland because they were cutting down trees. Muriel suggests using a tracking spell to find Herne if we had something of his to work off of.

Evie states she would like to hear some embarassing stories about Corian. Finn asks about sending post from the island and then also asks to use some paper and pen. Finn is pointedly writing to his and Bronwyn's mother and aunt.

Apparently leaving to find a wife is a thing on this island to avoid inbreeding. Diparen isn't married yet though just because he "hasn't had the time". Women too leave to find husbands. It's also a way to prevent the island's culture from becoming too insular.

There are some rumors about kidnappings in the west by the Blood Horse Tribe. They were one of the three tribes of the north that refused to unify with other tribes and left the mainland. The Blood Horse Tribe live in an area crawling with Free Magic creatures. The Blood Horse Tribe may be kidnapping decendants of the Silver Moon Tribe (who also never unified).

During dessert some people in heavy armor with swords pull up in a carriage and sound like they come into the living room. Evie asks Corian's mom if they are expecting guests. It's Prolius's wife apparently. Two women, Diparen's sister and Prolius's wife, come in half-armored having shed parts of it in the living room. Esael winces as Corian hugs her and reveals she has a big gash on his arm. She's also seven months pregnant and Prolius is looking at her worriedly. Esael warns him that she's not about to start "doting" on this child before it is even born. Finn heals Esael. Corian introduces us all.

Evie tells Corian's family to avoid Hastinean. Prolius says scholars come from the mainland and usually go to the church. Diparen hasn't been to the church for awhile though. There aren't Abhorsens on the island but there are orders of monks that do similar jobs. There are orders for each of The Nine. Corian is from the order of Kibeth, Herne is of the order of Astarael and essentially acts as an Abhorsen. Only a handful of the monks carry necromancer's bells and some can sense the Dead. Evie is getting visibly upset. Corian suggests they take a walk, stop by the church and the airship.

Muriel, Finn, and Evie go back to the airship to check on Arielle. We see two figures in robs close to the airship. One is incredibly tall and sniffing around the air of the airship. It whips around and sniffs at us. It tells the shorter person that Finn is infected. The woman says Haadasa is the same of the thing and it also knows there is something Dead on the ship. They are part of the order of Orannis. The Haadasa apparently seek out things that should not be and destroy them.

They suggest we register our "Undead servant" and the church. Haadasa will also look at Finn's arm if we go by the church later. Haadasa is kind of lizardy with horns. And the woman says the thing in Finn will take over him if left too long – it may reach his brain sooner or later. Finn is concerned about losing his arm. Haadasa looks at Finn's arm and licks it, then starts to do some magic to him. It clamps down on Finn's upper arm. Some corrupted Charter marks now hold the thing in Finn in check for the next few days. They say it is a malignant Free Magic creature and they have seen similar things before.

Muriel asks about the creature that was attached to Cervane. They says it is a Gormoranth and were thought to be all gone from the world. Finn's arm didn't like attacking it because it doesn't want to harm other Free Magic creatures. We need to visit Hueszil to get something done to keep Finn's infection from spreading to his brain.

Meanwhile Corian and Bronwyn are on their way to the church. Bronwyn says she's sorry for being so forward but mostly she was doing all that to get a rise out of Finn and Evie. Corian says Finn is worried about her but it's coming from a good place. And he tells Bronwyn that she shouldn't run around with him if she's doing it to get at her brother. Bronwyn says she genuinely likes him though. Bronwyn wants to prove herself on this adventure but Corian warns her about danger.

The church has nine bells, Charter marks, and symbols of Free Magic. There are only a handful of worshippers here this time at night. Corian starts pointing out places at the church and monestary to Bronwyn. The monks are not surprised by Corian bringing a woman to the monestary quarters after hours. Corian gathers some hair from Herne's comb.

Meanwhile Diparen and Roxy have gotten into a bar brawl!

Numea, head of the Orannis, was ailing and merged with her Free Magic companion and became Haadasa. The Ranna have been saying the woods are waking and they're nervous the kidnapping of Silver Moon Tribe people has something to do with it. Supposedly the Silver Moon Tribe kept certain things sleeping.

Finn will stay with the airship overnight. Corian says the Orannis are sometimes overzealous.

We leave Finn and Bronwyn alone. They discuss their respective romantic entanglements.

Diperan wants to see Roxy to Clayr Seeing. The meditate together (but not naked). Roxy Sees a live area of the woods on the island. There are black robed figures with white death masks. They look directly at Roxy and point at her and harmonize and Roxy snaps out of her vision with a headache. Diperan tells her she Saw the Witches. And Roxy goes to bed with Diperan.

The next day Roxy tells us about her vision. Finn and Evie go to the church. Finn brings tea and flowers to Haadasa and its translator. Haadasa smells the tea and eats the flowers.

We decide to search for Herne first. Muriel sets the airship to Weylyn. Finn prepares a Silence spell.

Corian mentions Roxy disappeared last night. She says she went to a bar and then did her Sight thing.

 

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That Is Not Dead...
"Don't make this into bugs!"

We are left wondering to do with an undead presence in the treeline and a creepy note in hand. The Abhorsen sisters ring their Kibeth bells to call the gore crow back. It has another note. "No bells or I run."

We write back, "No bells. Arielle, is it you? Tell us something only you would know. Are you trapped? Do you need help?" The gore crow takes the note, leaves, and comes back with another. "It's Arielle. I need help." The note mentions where our parents took us for her seventh birthday. We send back "How can we help you? Where are you?" Evie also names the gore crow Ted and Muriel is disgusted.

The next note says that a necromancer is hunting her and she's just inside the woods. Muriel is suspicious again. Evie writes back, "Can you come to us? We can protect you." The message that comes back says "I'm not sure I can trust you while you're wearing the bells. I don't want to go back." We are all like well fuck that.

The gore crow drops a note and flies away. "I didn't think you'd abandon me again." The undead presence begins moving deeper into the woods and away from us. Muriel is convinced the note sender was an undead thing trying to trick us. She says she's glad it's moving away because otherwise she was going to use the bells on it. Evie slaps her with genuine fury and walks away.

The next morning the Dog has caught some rabbits and looks very pleased with herself.

After we take off we see the Grim Gathers' ship pursue us. As we try to outrun them we see them land near where we were camped. Muriel thinks this is confirmation it was a necromancer trying to trick us whereas Evie and Roxy think it means they're going after Arielle. There are some loud arguments.

Roxy meditates to See if she can learn what the pirates are doing. It doesn't even remotely work and she ends up blacking out. She lets us know it didn't work and she looks drained. We press on. Roxy tries again a few hours later. She Sees the sky pirates and the necromancer says, "Definitely went this way." Then she Sees a Dead creature that looks scared as its running through the woods and a gore crow along with it. Roxy relays the details of her vision to us.

We decide to go back and investigate. Muriel flies the ship low near the trees while Evie investigates. We pass over the sky pirates and sense even more Dead up ahead. Evie is sure that one of those presences is Arielle. Eventually we spot an Undead being lifted by a swarm of gore crows above the trees. Evie signals to it to come aboard the airship. It hesitates but lands on the deck of the ship. The Undead smolders in the sunlight. It has silver burning eyes and antlers.

Evie throws a blanket over the Dead creature and guides it into the hold. Muriel guns it out of there.

Evie sets her bells in a trunk. Arielle hugs herself with her arms and kind of cowers. Corian comes down to talk to Arielle too. Arielle says she woke up and saw her sisters but she didn't know who they were because they were so old. Evie tries to comfort Arielle's Undead form. Arielle says she's sorry and that she didn't want to be this. She says she went all the way to the Ninth Gate and something there told her it wasn't her time and then it told her to sleep.

Arielle doesn't know where her body is. She says when she woke she was so hungry and she killed a deer even though she didn't want to. She tries to stay away from people because she's afraid of what she might do. Arielle asks how long it's been and Evie tells her. Arielle only woke up a couple of weeks ago and still feels like she is eight years old. Corian feels awkward and leaves. Evie hugs Arielle and cries while apologizing. Up top Corian informs the rest of us.

When sunset comes Muriel finds a spot to set the airship that isn't quite so visible from overhead. Evie tries to convince Arielle to come out of the hold now that it's dark. Arielle introduces herself to everyone and we've never seen an Undead look nervous before. Muriel is still hesitant to talk to Undead Arielle.

The Dog inspects Arielle. "You're a curious thing, aren't you?" Evie asks the Dog to hunt for some more food. We have an uneventful night and another day of travel. The Dog seems to be spending a lot of time around Arielle.

We stop at a beach with cliffs for the night before the leg of the journey over the water. Muriel finally talks to Arielle and asks if she is okay to be taken over the open water of the sea. Muriel says they will make sure it's safe before starting the journey tomorrow.

We arrive on the island in the early afternoon. The western edge looks devastated – there are dead broken trees across this side. We move inland and start seeing densely packed forest, then rolling hills and plains, small towns and decently sized cities. Corian guides Muriel to his hometown on the far side of the island. It is a large port city with a nice cathedral of an unusual design. Muriel sets down at a dock designated for airships.

Arielle will stay with the Dog on the airship.

Evie asks Corian if Bronwyn is his girlfriend. Corian doesn't want to give a name to the relationship. Corian guides us around the city. Kilts are in fashion for men here and mainly large lizards are the beasts of burden here instead of horses.

Corian says he wants to go by the homestead first, and then Corian will take us to meet his master. Or, more specifically he will take Finn to meet his master who Corian thinks can help Finn with his Free Magic problem.

It turns out Corian's brother's business is a horse and cart transport only with the giant lizards. There is a business office at the homestead. Corian introduces us to his brother, Prolius.

We have awkward tea and Roxy invents the to-go cup.

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Hail to the King, Baby

We find at the safe house for the Unseen:

  • 2 basic charter spelled swords
  • a magic wand shaped like a unicorn horn (but made of wood)
  • 2 sets of bows + quivers (5 normal arrows, 5 charter-spelled arrows each)
  • a strange amulet shaped like a sun with white stone in the middle

 

Finn examines the wand, the Alicorn Wand, and knows it has 10 charges of 10 different spells. He can tell the amulet, the Sunstone Amulet, is tapped out. Muriel takes one of the bow & quiver sets. Evie takes a Charter sword. Roxy takes the amulet, which she incidentally recognizes – it stores sunlight in the amulet and can release it in a burst.

We decide to use Charter magic to disguise Roxy, Finn, and Corian while we tail Hastinean and watch the coronation. Muriel and Evie will just be themselves. We go back to Belisaere and stay at an inn or the Abhorsen quarters at the castle.

Under the cover of darkness Roxy commandeers a boat to take out the Reformatory on the island off Belisaere. She tries to steer the boat to avoid the light from the lighthouse, and fortuitously steers into a current that takes her quickly and directly to the island. The Reformatory is a large imposing building. She sneaks up to the building but the guards above shout, "Halt! Who goes there?" Roxy doesn't know what to say and claims to be lost. They say they are sending someone to assist her. They ask her name and she says "Cecelia" and they want to get her back to her boat because this is a restricted area. She says she was dropped off so the guards take her to one of their boats and Roxy is escorted back to Belisaere. Roxy comes back, defeated. "I couldn't find Hastinean."

Finn and Corian go to scope out the church where the coronation will be tomorrow. They don't see anything out of the ordinary, mostly priests and guards. They make note of exits, vantage points, and the general layout. They go back to the Inn.

When Evie wakes up she notices dog fur all over her blanket. When she flings off her covers she hears the tiny stone statue clatter to the floor.

All across Belisaere people hear the out of tune church bells calling everyone to the coronation. Everyone is wearing nice clothes. All of us separately do not see Hastinean in the crowd. Muriel sees Quinona in the crowd. There is a small contingent of Royal Mage Corps with Farisean.

We watch the ceremony, a large crown is placed on Tiburolt's head, there is a procession, everything seems to go off without a hitch. Still no Hastinean, which is weird.

Muriel and Evie go to talk to the new King. He motions for us to join him in a smaller area. He fired Hastinean essentially and has called off the manhunt on Finn. Farisean is now in charge of the Reformatory. However Finn will still be made to stand trial unfortunately.

Muriel and Evie go to the Inn to report back to the others. They are sitting outside the boisterous party and enjoying food cart fare. We tell them what we learned from the King. Finn is concerned about having to go on trial. Finn wants Roxy to use her Sight to find Hastinean.

Roxy Sees a place for to the west, a town on the edge of the northwest where there is a desert and a church. It says "The Church of the Seven Bells." Finn's last mission was in this very town apparently.

Finn goes to the castle and the guards just let him walk on in; he has free reign of the place. Finn checks Tiburolt's office first, but doesn't find him. He checks a few more places but can't find him. There are two of those badass guard sendings outside the King's bedroom. Finn pokes his head in the door and the King rushes over to him to embrace him. Finn asks Tiburolt what happened to him. Apparently TIburolt was at the Corruption Stones when they first appeared. Abombinations appeared and one had him in its grasp and infected him somehow. Tiburolt got ahold of a Bell and sent them both into Death with Astarael. Tiburolt doesn't know how long he was in Death – it was day when he went in and night when he came out again. But Finn senses Tiburolt isn't telling him the whole story – it isn't holding together exactly.

Finn asks if Tiburolt knows how to get rid of the corruption. He says he'll have Farisean look into it. Tiburolt says Hastinean never learned of his own Free Magic corruption. Tiburolt says preliminary reports in Ganel indicate more Corruption Stones have surfaced. Tiburolt is leavintgtomorrow with some of the Unseen and his armored sendings. Ramoniel still can't get into the library at the Rift. Tiburolt doesn't want us to go with him, and says until Finn's name is cleared it's best if they distance themselves. But if they need to distance themselves they better bang a bunch more times before they part ways.

In her room, Evie tries to find out more about the little soapstone dog. She casts Reveal Secrets and the Disreputable Dog appears, growling just a bit like it's upset with her for doing that. When Evie reaches for it it lunges at her and licks her face. The Dog says she's been asleep since her six-times-great aunt died. Evie hugs the Dog and starts sniffing around for something to eat.

In the morning when Finn gets back to the Inn Corian takes him through their morning meditation routine. Finn actually naps because he has penis exhaustion. When we all meet up in the morning Evie has a dog! The Dog talks! And she has a Charter Spell collar.

We decide we need to head north. We get the loan of a small somewhat run-down airship from Finn's uncle. We purchase some supplies for the cold and north places. Evie sends a message to Ramoniel. After some debate we decide to invite Bronwyn along too because of her experience with Free Magic.

Finn goes to talk to his sister. He admits to her that he does have some sort of Free Magic thing inhabiting his arm. And he says she would be very useful on the trip. But the deciding factor for her is that Corian will be coming along?? She excitedly says she has to pack! Finn reminds her that it will be cold weather where we're going. It's going to be a cramped airship.

Finn arrives for takeoff with Bronwyn in tow. He tells us about the new set of Corruption Stones and the King's mission to go stop them. Finn tells us that Tiburolt was lying to him about something.

We start the five day trip to the north. In the evenings we camp and keep watch overnight. On the second night Bronwyn sneaks over to Corian's tent. And Muriel, who was keeping watch, did not even notice. The Disreptuable Dog catches rabbits in the very early hours of the morning. Later Evie's Death Sense goes off and she sees something moving toward the camp from the edge of the forest. Word is passed and everyone is quietly woken up.

Evie points out the Dead which is almost hopping toward us. Muriel can feel the Dead presence as well. It is a message Gore Crow with a note around its leg. Muriel tells the crow to drop it and it pecks the note off its leg. Evie looks at the note, the color drains from her face, and then drops it and leaves to go sit. "She took to the air; You took to the ground; I slept in cold waters."

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The Battle for Qyrre
"I'm gonna roll my dog!"

Muriel, Roxy, and Evie stay on the airship and head toward to the town.

Finn, Quinona, and Corian have joined the ground battle. An abomination has appeared. It goes after an Abhorsen on the battlefield who doubles over in pain. Quinona attacks the abomination with water-based Charter Magic by taking a bit of the Ratterlin and smashing it against the monster. Finn also attacks the abomination with a Charter Magic metor but it uproots a tree and bats it away. Gengariel, a member of the Abhorsen Corps, casts some dubious Charter Magic to attack the abomination with shadow blades. However this Greater Dead absorbs the magic and roars in defiance. Bulfasa, one of the Knight Blades, is now in the sights of the Greater Dead. Bulfasa is knocked across the battlefield and is not killed but is left with cracked ribs.

Quinona casts a wall of ice between the converging Wood Weirds and the battlefield to stall them. In a fit of frustration Finn casts his Shooting Star spell again but the Abomination once again bats it away. Gangariel rings Saraneth to attempt to bind the Greater Dead and it seems to hear it, but is not stopped. Bulfasa casts a Bark Skin spell on himself, Finn, and Gangariel as a means of protection.

The Greater Dead is incensed by the use of Bells against it so it turns toward Gangariel. The Abhorsen feels the very life force drained from him. Quinona throws the Ratterlin at the abomination again and it screams in pain as water rushes over it. Finn continues to rain the firey heavens upon the Greater Dead creature and finally gets a decent hit on it that knocks off part of the creature's arm.

Corian has been working on a Charter Spell to disspell the Wood Weirds from this plane of existence. Behind the ice, one of the Wood Weirds becomes still as it is reduced to an inanimate tree.

Gangariel rings Saraneth again and staggers the Greater Dead but it is not weak enough to be thrown into Death. Bulfasa summons vines to tangle the abomination but it just snaps the plants as it walks through them. It siphons more life from Gangariel right after.

The Wood Weirds smash through Quinona's ice wall and immediately one blasts Free Magic at Corian. He shields himself with the Charter but the Free Magic is too strong and smashes the shield badly enough to graze Corian. The other remaining Wood Weird attacks Finn.

Quinona casts a spell to make herself a frosty Charter spell sword. Finn summons his weapon and attacks the abomination with that instead. It is much more successful as the abomination loses fingers trying to block it. Gangariel is determined to continue ringing Saraneth and it finally stops the Greater Dead in its tracks. Bulfasa moves forward to sweep the abomination's legs with his sword and succeeds.

Wood Weirds are still out for Corian's blood. Corian defends with an opalescent shield that appears from thin air. Another Wood Weird tries to stomp on Finn but he holds it above him with sheer strangth.

Quinona slices at the abomination with her Charter-made sword but she is not particularly adept in melee and misses entirely. Corian meanwhile is whittling away at the Wood Weirds. Corian disspells the one on top of Finn and the lights of its eyes fade away quickly. The de-animated tree falls on its friend as Finn pushes it away. Gangariel finally forces the Greater Dead back into Death, just barely.

Bulfasa uses a torrent of leaves to decimate a Wood Weird with the death of a thousand leafy cuts. Corian yells for everyone to get down because the Wood Weird is pouring out Free Magic energy that warns it will soon explode. Several people cast protective spells that shield us from the blast as the Wood Weird bursts into a million tiny splinters and magical energy.

It seems that the airship reinforcements really did make the difference in this battle. We all make our way over to one of the Abhorsens in charge. They're talking about a hasty retreat and escape. Everyone was incredibly lucky to survive this onslaught of the Greater Dead and Free Magic creatures.

Finn stops as his shoulder starts twitching uncontrollably. A giant eyeball suddenly pops out of his shoulder. Soldiers immediately spot it and yell that he's a Free Magic creature. Corian immediately moves to defend Finn but another solider yells that he recognizes Corian and that he must be with the "Free Magic creature". Gangariel has rushed to Corian and Finn's aid and where Gangariel goes, so does his love Bulfasa. The angry mob chases them and they cheese it.

Meanwhile, Muriel, Roxy, and Evie have landed in Qyrre. The townspeople swarm the yacht but it can hold maybe 100 people maximum, but there are probably 500 left in the town. Evie yells out to ask if there's someone in charge. The town elder helps to get the crowd under control. Evie announces we are going back to the Corruption Stones to fight and then we will be back. She asks if anyone is willing to fight and a scant few volunteer. Evie assures the town elder that we will be sending transportation along and they agree upon a Charter Mark signal for when and where the evacuation will take place. They agree upon Robles Town as the place of evacuation.

We take off again with the "reinforcements". Partway there we see a giant boat of ice in the river and dead Dead on the land. Muriel lands the airship to pick up Finn, Corian, Quinona, etc. Evie finds her soapstone dog on top of a pile of bodies and debris of non-animate Undead.

We gather all the fighters onto the airship and head back to the town of Qyrre. We intercept the group heading to Robles Town. We are able to evacuate about 100 of them. Quinona volunteers to go back to Qyrre and escort other refugees with some of our fighting force on another airship.

Mostly mothers, children, elderly are accompanying our party directly back to Belisaere. Evie entertains kids on the way with dramatic tales of daring-do.

We see more Corruption Stones below on the way to Belisaere. Evie sees that a Wood Weird is near it and it's throwing a tree at the airship as it passes by! Evie shields the part of the ship that would have been hit and the tree is deflected. She sees an explosion of gore crows that intercepted the tree as well… So that's strange.

Evie mentions this to Muriel, but Muriel is skeptical and denies that it could have anything to do with their deceased youngest sister. Evie is still hopeful but Muriel is firmly convinced that Arielle is dead, not even Undead.

The sun is setting and Muriel sets down the ship near a town to camp for the night. Evie and Roxy work the first watch. Evie sees something in the treeline of the woods – a pair of Dead eyes that coldly burn in the darkness. After Evie mentions this to Roxy she spots the eyes too.

Muriel is called over by Evie and Roxy at the beginning of her watch to look at the Dead thing. Roxy calls out to it but it turns tail and run into the forest. Roxy notes that it has the same eyes as The Forsaken, but the figure is shorter. Evie and Muriel talk and agree that they need to bring this up with Ramoniel as soon as possible.

It's the last push to Belisaere in the morning. Lord Alaren is relieved to see his airship in one pieve. He and Varah greet the refugees and let them know about the accommodations that have been arranged for them. Varah and Finn speak minimally and awkwardly. Quinona and her airship of refugees has not arrived yet.

Finn pulls Evie aside to tell her that the pull towards the Corruption Stones again happened again. A message hawk lands on Finn's shoulder during this conversation. "I have to go…" he says. Evie tells Finn to send word once he gets to where he's going. Finn slips out in somewhat secret corridors with his duffel to leave Belisaere. Finn also sends a message to Evie on his way out. Finn leaves a path of his own Charter Mark on his path.

We hear some commotion in the corridor and Finn's Aunt Varah is yelling at some people saying that they can't come barging into her house; they have to tell her what they want with her nephew. The palace guards force their way into the house anyways and present us with a warrant for the arrest of Finn – for harboring a Free Magic creature. Apparently reports from Qyrre were confirming the presence of Free Magic on his body. The warrant is signed by Hastinean.

Evie asks about appeals and the guards say it will have to go through the Reformatory. Evie and Muriel decide they need to pay a call to the head of the Reformatory. Corian, strangely, is the voice of reason and suggests we should have some sort of a plan in place first. Corian thinks we should go to Farisean because Hastinean (hopefully) answers to him. We get a message that Farisean will arrange a meeting later. A letter from the Prince says to stay at the Abhorsen quarters for now and he will stop by to talk to us as soon as possible.

At the Abhorsen quarters there is a message hawk from Ramoniel saying she has made it to the Rift but no sightings of "what you asked about" meaning the youngest Abhorsen sister. Evie asks Roxy to use her Sight to look into how both Ramoniel and Finn are doing. Roxy sees future visions of Finn strapped to an operating table with a sinister syringe-wielding Hastinean nearby, and also Ramoniel with other Abhorsens climbing around the ruins near the Rift.

Shortly after midnight the Prince, without guards, arrives at the Abhorsen quarters. We tell him that Hastinean ordered the guards to arrest Finn. Prince Tiburolt says there will be a hearing where we can testify to defend Finn. Roxy tells the Prince about her vision and it visibly upsets him. Evie tells the Prince that she thinks Hastinean is up to more than just studying Free Magic creatures. Prince Tiburolt should be coronated as King of Belisaere tomorrow and have the power to stop Hastinean.

We track down Finn while making sure we weren't followed. Finn is concerned when we say we told the Prince. And Roxy tells him her vision with Hastinean. Finn says Farisean was the one who told him to leave. And we tell him about the trial where people will be testifying against Finn.

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The Doom That Came to Qyrre

We are Qrrye-bound. The yacht is called the High Wind. Muriel sent a message to the Prince asking for the same team to be assembled for the mission to Qrrye. It will be about a two-day trip south from Belisaere with a stop at one of the towns in between. High Bridge is the one where Muriel plans to stop since it is bordered by rivers.

 

We bring food and water supplies, tents, plenty of rope, first aid supplies. Roxy gets a weapons cache from her Nightblades contacts. Muriel asks Quinona if she knows any medics, but Quinona just packs a bag to come along. Muriel feels very torn about this but does not stop her. Roxy thinks to bring along rowan branches to control and contain Free Magic creatures.

 

The High Wind is constructed for comfort more than efficiency. There’s carpeting in the cabins and it’s not made for speed and maneuvering. There’s a sending just for piloting rather than a co-pilot. Finn calls Muriel “Captain” and she calls him “Shadow, First Class of the Unseen”. The others are considerably less formal.

 

Muriel gives Evie a hard time about Hastinean and Evie gives as good as she gets. The argument ends with a frustrated Muriel leaving the room.

 

Quinona is able to help Muriel a bit with weather magic to pilot the air ship. We approach High Ridge without incident but as we get close Muriel feels the twinge of some undead close by, possibly above us. Muriel asks Finn to look above us since she is boxed in on the bridge. He sees a small crow – a gore crow – in the sky above us. Finn comes back to Muriel and she tells him to have Evie take care of it.

 

Eviael wields Kibeth to make it Walk back into Death. Corian stops Roxy from walking right off the ship. The gore crow flies due South.

 

We arrive in High Bridge and everyone camps out on the ship. But Muriel does order in take-out from a traveling food cart.

 

In the middle of the night Corian is awoken by a sound – the sound of the wind wailing through dead trees. It is coming from the area of live trees though. Corian gets up to investigate. He sees a glow and the smell of hot metal. A tree bursts into flames and slowly uproots itself. Corian goes to wake everyone else up but only finds some lass he slept with before. She says “The woods are waking,” and then Corian wakes up for real. He decides sleeping any more on this night is not worth it and tries meditating instead.

 

Finn asks what Corian is doing. Finn is skeptical about meditation but also curious. Corian instructs him to have a seat and tells him a chant. Finn is confused about the lack of Charter Magic involved. Corian says this is about one’s place in the world outside the Charter. Finn gives meditation a try and has some trouble keeping up the chant without Charter Marks. But after some practice Finn starts to get the hang of it – he does end up drifting off to sleep though. Corian invites Finn to join him daily for meditation.

 

Muriel wakes up in the morning but Quinona isn’t there. She’s outside manipulating the water. Muriel walks up beside her and watches. Eventually Muriel walks back in the ship and starts making breakfast.

 

Evie arrives late to breakfast because she’s talking to her soapstone dog about feeling like an inadequate Abhorsen.

 

Quinona asks Muriel a lot of questions about piloting the airship, and connects it to how she pilots a sea faring ship.

 

Finn says that according to his report there may be an outpost where we can park the ship in Qrrye. Muriel aims to land the ship near the octagonal church where Abhorsen, Royal Mage Corps, and Nightblades potentially are.

 

As we approach Qrrye we see the Chaos Stones and all hell has broken loose. Muriel drops the ship down near the Nightblades and Royal Mage Corps that are holding the road to Qrrye. They say a rider to get reinformcemnets may have been intercepted. Corian and Finn jump off to help the defenders. Quinona kisses Muriel passionately and then jumps off too.

 

Corian and Finn notice that their connection to the Charter feels strained from a close proximity to the Corruption Stones. Finn’s arm itches really badly like something under his skin is crawling around. Finn and Corian fight off Dead Hands while Quinona attempts to heal wounded.

 

A fallen Abhorsen turns into a Greater Dead. Corian hears that familiar sound of home again and more trees uproot themselves. Corian uses Charter Magic to trap their roots in the ground while he works on a more powerful spell.

 

Back on the ship we are almost to Qrrye when we see the dead rider on the road and a whole mess of Undead that are close to the town. Evie feels something squirming in her pocket. A dog’s head pops out. Roxy says, “Is that a dog?!” The dog, full sized hound, jumps out of her pocket. “Explain later! Will buy you some time!” The dog runs off and Evie hears the faint sound of a bell. Muriel pushes them forward to the town.

 

We get to the town and villagers are mobilizing to leave. The reinforcements are heading out of town with refugees.

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The Fresh Prince of Belisaere

We make it back to Belisaere. It is late in the day by the time we get there. We request an audience with the Prince Regent.

Finn goes to Farisean's home to report in. Evie accompanies Finn to make sure he isn't accosted on the way there. The door opens on its own. Finn pushed the door open further and hears Farisean shouting for him to come in. There is smells of freshly cooked food and a table full of food and Farisean's family. Finn feels awkward about interrupting dinner. Farisean excuses himself for dinner so he can speak privately with Finn. Evie takes Farisean's place at the dinner table and introduces herself, and regales the family with tales of adventure.

Farisean offers Finn a glass of scotch. Finn tells him what we have discovered and Farisean admits all is not well in the Kingdom. The Prince Regent wants to evacuate Qrrie but is having trouble having the order pushed through. Apparently there is politics and business at work within the Council. The Queen refuses to do anything but sit and wait for news of her daughter. Belisaere is otherwise stable.

Finn tells Farisean about the Free Magic red and black pyramid that his Free Magic taint attempted to activate or use. Farisean suggest amputation or Charter-based advanced healing techniques. Farisean says one team of the Unseen went missing in fog that overtook the area where Finn was infected with Free Magic. Finn says he should be sent back to investigate; he feels responsible even. Farisean says he's hesitant to send Finn back there. Farisean says he will see us all tomorrow at the meeting with the Prince Regent. Finn and Evie depart.

Finn tells Evie that he thinks the demise of his former team members was his fault. And now there is a weird mage-eating mist in the place where he was attacked. Evie comforts Finn and he says he thinks he's going back there to investigate. Evie gives him a hard time about thinking about going there on his own. Finn doesn't want to risk anyone else but Evie won't let him off that easy. Evie proposes they get a drink and they're off to the tavern.

Roxy gets back to her place and it's darker than it should be. Roxy casts detect traps and then darkvision. She sees the leader of the Knight Blades, Maltoral. "Damnit, Mal, you scared the shit out of me!" Maltoral tells her to get inside so they can confer. He and Roxy have a conversation.

Roxy goes to visit Muriel at the Abhorsen quarters at the castle. Muriel answers the door in sweats and holding chips. Roxy tells Muriels her boss told her that three different contracts have been taken out on Corain. She shows Muriel the contracts. Muriel thinks Roxy has better resources than anyone to find out why Corian has those contracts out on him. After hanging out for a bit Roxy goes out to talk to some of her contacts.

Roxy accidently lets her contacts know she's asking about Corian but she does get to talk to Squirrely. Apparently Corian has been messing with some very high class ladies and some angry rich husbands are out for his blood.

The next morning we all gather and Roxy tells Corian has three separate contracts on him. Corian thinks only one of them is a legitimate grievance against him. Finn mentions that Corian has been falsely accused before.

We see Hastinean outside the castle speaking with Finn's mother, Caethyn. She rushed up to embrace Finn and says Hastinean was telling her what happened to him on the last mission. She scolds Finn for not telling her and says they have the best healers at the Academy. Apparently Hastinean has told her he's offered to help heal Finn. Finn is understandably uncomfortable and introduces us all to his mother as a distraction. Caethyn wants Finn to stop by and see his visiting aunt and new cousin.

Off-key bells ring in the town and it's time for our meeting with the Prince Regent Tiburolt and Abhorsen-in-Waiting Ramoniel. Roxy presents the letter from Garnelle. They look over the parchment. The Prince Regent says it will help him become the proper Prince "before things become too dire". Evie asks Ramoniel if she and Muriel could talk in private later.

Tiburolt wants help from us again. He says they're having trouble evacuating Qrrie and wants to get a ship or two out there to help. And apparently the way is to schmooze with rich people like Finn's Aunt Varah at a fancy party. Tiburolt wants Finn to be his date. Finn asks for a drink. Corian asks Roxy to be his date and she agrees so that she can protect him.

After they leave Finn starts freaking out a little about meeting his Aunt Varah and tells the rest of us about how terrifying she is. We are skeptical. Finn, Roxy and Corian go grab a drink.

Meanwhile Ramoniel meets with Evie and Muriel. Evie tells Ramoniel about the Three Sisters poem. We tell her about how Arielle got swept into Death, and the visions we both had at the Glacier. Ramoniel says she has to go to the Rift. Muriel tells Evie she doesn't think she could handle sending Arielle into Death a second time. Ramoniel tries to comfort us that it isn't our sister any more. Evie tells her that in the visions Arielle appeared to be in pain. Ramoniel reads the full poem and wants to study it further; she thinks there's some weird code in the wording. Ramoniel says she will inform us as soon as she finds out anything more. She tells us thank you and then admits that she hated us before now for turning our backs on the Abhorsen ways. Ramoniel bids us goodbye and goes to prepare for her journey.

Finn says he's only having one drink before going to see mom. Roxy and Corian are planning on finding Corian's accusers. Finn goes to his childhood home where his mom still lives. Caethyn calls him in to meet with his sister Bronwyn, her new baby, and Finn's other Aunt Lillis. FInn says he will be at the party with Prince Regent Tiburolt. All the ladies speak at once excitedly because it will "kill Aunt Varah" because his accidental social climbing will suddenly overtake her in one fell swoop. Finn says he didn't mean to but the ladies say "let us have our fun". Finn asks to talk to his mother in private.

Finn pulls her into the kitchen and asks Caethyn about Hastinean. Finn tells her about the rumors of Hastinean's "experiments" but she is dismissive. She even encourages Finn to see Hastinean. Caethyn says Hastinean's research applying Ancelstierrian scientific methods have been beneficial to the Academy.

Roxy and Corian go snooping. They spot that one of the ladies Corian did not recognize from the contract list and her daughter appears to be pregnant. Yet another one has a pregnant teenage daughter. Corian is adamant he did not sleep with either of these youths. They spot the third, the one that Corian knows he did sleep with. She now has a wedding ring unlike before but no pregnant daughter that they see. Roxy doesn't want to confront her directly for fear of discrediting the Knight Blades. She settles on representing a different organization falsely.

Roxy finds an opportune time to sneak up to the woman and ask her about the contract. The woman is clueless about the contract that her husband put out for Corian. She tells the woman about the other two lord families with the pregnant teenage daughters. The woman says this is "just like" her husband and claims she will ensure her husband rescinds those contracts. Roxy says Corian owes her one.

It's time for the fancy charity ball for the Annual Academy Scholarship Fund at Aunt Varah's manor.

Finn's outfit is white with gold accents. He has a military cut cape with a brilliant crimson lining. He arrives earlier than the Prince told him to, but waits for Prince Tiburolt who is dressed in black with gold accents and a cape with a solver lining. Finn warns Tiburolt about Aunt Varah but he laughs and says he's met Varah before. They chat sweet/awkwardly for a bit and then Finn asks Tiburolt if his is what he really wants. Tiburolt admits he would rather be slinging bells with the other Abhorsens but he feels duty-bound to serve the Kingdom the best he can. Apparently the Queen has literally no other care other than finding her daughter and bringing her back. The Queen no longer talks to him or anyone else. "We must put this on hold for much more dire matters – my Aunt is throwing a party."

A servant announces Prince Regent Tiburolt and Finn together and the crowd is really keyed up. Aunt Varah looks darkly at Finn, and Bronwyn immediately rushes in for interference.

Muriel arrives in an Abhorsen-blue high-colared mermaid cut dress with Quinnona in an airy ice-blue ball gown.

As Evie arrives stag, Hastinean approached her. She corrects him as her name being Evaiel since he has heard of her as the Abhorsen not the treasure hunter. He offers to escort her into the ball and she accepts.

Evie is wearing a corset bodice with many translucent scarves that barely show silver keys underneath, and a necklace with a single silver key. Hastinean is wearing a coat of green and gold. As they are announced Muriel's head snaps over to them and she GLARES at Evie like she is in so much trouble. And then she turns an absolute cold death look at Hastinean. He flashes a smile at her and Muriel can tell there are gears turning in his head.

Roxy and Corian arrive together. Corian is in a purple waistcoat and a black coat and Roxy is dressed in a frilly black and purple accented poofy midi dress with big boots.

While Prince Tiburolt and Finn are dancing pretty much no one else is and are watching the two of them instead. Prince Tiburolt breaks away to gather Muriel and go talk to Lord Alaren about borrowing an airship. Muriel is visibly agitated about something.

During a break in the dancing a lovely red-haired woman approaches Corian saying she doesn't think she's ever seen him before. He tells her he is from up north and she introduces herself as Bronwyn. Across the room Finn starts sliding his way over there. Corian tells Bronwyn that he's just finished a job at the Clayr's Glacier. Bronwyn greets Finn as he comes over. "Your sister you say?"

Bronwyn says she's just started studying Free Magic at the Academy. Hastinean apparently proposed this project for her. Finn says Hastinean seems to be making friends with everyone he knows. Aunt Lillis walks up and also asks about Corian. Both Lillis and Bronwyn are hitting on Corian and Finn is panicked. Corian offers to get drinks as Finn clenches his jaw at him. "YOU ARE TOO FRIENDLY." "Aunt Lillis, again?!" "All I wanted was a date with the Prince!" "I was just going to talk to them!" Finn is distressed about Corian and also that Bronwyn is studying Free Magic.

Evie is craning her neck to see what is up with her friends and Hastinean notices. He asks about her compatriots and Finn in particular. Hastinean mentions Finn had been hurt and they had been worried it might be affecting him. Evie expresses concern and promises to tell him if she notices anything. Evie can't tell if she's fooled Hastinean.

Muriel is introduced to Lord Alaren as one of the best pilot in the fleet and an Abhorsen. Prince Tiburolt makes some small talk before asking about the air yacht for use in the evacuation. The Prince does most of the talking. Lord Alaren isn't convinced there is true danger. There's some arguing but eventually Alaren relents. The airship will be prepped and ready to leave tomorrow. Having accounts from actual Qrrie exiles will help the Prince's case for evacuating the whole area.

Aunt Varah approaches Finn as he feels a chill up her spine. She immediately demands to know what he is doing here with the Prince. Varah thinks Caethyn put him up to this which surprises Finn. Varah thinks her family is trying to show her up at her party. Finn tries to mollify her by saying that it's only because of this party that he gets a chance to spend some time with Tiburolt. Varah finally says it's nice to see Finn and gives him an awkward hug and walks away. Hastinean catches Finn's eye and saultes him with his drink.

Corian asks Hastinean about his project with Bronwyn. He says the Academy is helping him with Free Magic studies. Hastinean wants to interrogate if Free Magic is inherently evil, or if it could be wielded for good purposes. He says the people of Athask use Free Magic without it controlling them. Corian and Hastinean express interest in learning what each other knows about Free Magic. Hastinean says short small uses of Free Magic do not have lasting effects on the Athask but bigger uses do. Corian argues that there could be cumulative effects. And he thinks we need to understand how Free Magic is bound in the Charter to begin with. Hastinean really does believe that studying Free Magic is a way to help keep the Kingdom safe.

Finn and Muriel go to dance with their respective dates. Hastinean tries to tempt Evie back to the reformatory with ancient artifacts. But she invites him to dance for now.

Corian excuses himself from Roxy to bring drinks to Lillis and Bronwyn. And then he goes back to Roxy for a dance. Roxy forces him to dance for quite awhile. Roxy does not want Corian to hook up with Finn's sister.

The party wraps up and Finn sees Prince Tiburolt back to his room and Quinonna would really like to see the Abhorsen quarters of the castle. Hastinean politely bids Evie goodnight since she does not apparently show interest in spending the night with him.

Pillow talk! Finn tells Tiburolt he knows about the Princess. Tiburolt says that what he wants for himself has to come second to what the Kingdom needs. He says the Princess trusted him to not tell anyone where she was going because it could mean the death of her people. Finn wants to contact the Princess to ask her if her vision has changed at all. Tiburolt says he can get a message to her but he doesn't hold much hope. Finn says that if the Princess could come back and rule then they could go fight against Free Magic creatures and the Dead together. Tiburolt smiles and says he would love nothing more.

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Burdened with Terrible Knowledge

A Clayr, Desdria, approaches Corian in the mess hall and hits on him. But she has more serious matters to discuss with him – about the island. She apparently has Seen the Island of Wailing Pines and he will be there when his people need him. And, she says, his (their?) daughter will be there in eighteen years too. Corian has glacier sexy times.

Muriel is in the Abhorsen's quarters sleeping and wakes up very cold. She turns on a Charter spelled lamp and sees a trail of ice into her room. She gets up and takes a peek outside her room and Evie has cast a diamond of protection and must have gone far into death. Muriel gets closer and she thinks it really is Evie. Muriel kneels in front of her and goes into Death too.

Muriel wakes in the River of Death and follows their long-used Charter marker to guide each other to where we are. It looks like Evie is in the Sixth Precinct. As she goes to follow her Muriel hears the ringing of Astarael and is swept past the First Gate. She's swept past the Second, Third, and Fourth Gates. Franticly in Fifth Precinct she is able to slow herself from being swept through. But she books it for the Fifth Gate.

In the Sixth Precinct Evie is kneeling and Muriel approaches her. Evie tells Muriel that Arielle is still there, trapped in death. Muriel denies that it could be true, but Evie points to Arielle standing staring back at them. Muriel is frozen in fear and shock as Arielle's mouth opens in a silent scream and bubbles escape instead of sound. Then Muriel wakes up in a cold sweat in the Abhorsen quarters.

Finn is back in the Library looking for books on illness borne of Free Magic. He finds some disturbing accounts of Free Magic eating away at people, disfiguring of limbs, or slowing influencing their actions in sinister ways. Finn spends some time freaking himself out over the implications.

Roxy calls a meeting over breakfast. She tells us about the note from Garnelle to the Prince. We also have a discussion about the Corruption Stones and the Three Sisters at the Gate poem.

Muriel pulls Evie into the other room and tells her about her dream. Evie says she's looked for Arielle so many times. This is news to Muriel. Evie thinks that they need to look for Arielle in Death and Muriel says absolutely not. She's worried they will release The Forsaken somehow. They decide the others need to know.

We decide to look more into the Princess's stay at the Clayr's Glacier before leaving. Since Princess Aranelle was descended from Clayr she probably was staying in Clayr quarters. Roxy is unable to get ahold of the Head Librarian though. We look to Corian to do some asking around. Corian's apparently been the apple of a few Clayr's eye since we've been here so it's not tough for him to strike up a flirtatious conversation. She leads him to some quarters where she claims the Princess was staying. Aranelle mostly kept to herself and resented her lack of belonging in the Clayr. It was also traumatizing for her first vision to be of her own death. Aranelle left about a week ago and did not say where she was going. The Clayr didn't not have much success in Seeing where the Princess was going either. Corian looks through the room and finds a book about survival in cold climates. He promises to return it to the library. And then he "makes her really happy."

After awhile Corian returns and shows us the book. We determine that north is where she was heading. We decide to see if there were any other books Aranelle may have checked out. Roxy cannot find a Clayr she would ask for help, and she can't remember where records of who has checked out books would be. Luckily Evie does remember and they nab some records. Aranelle checked out an atlas of the northern regions, and also books about the northern Athask tribes. That is, the tribe of people to which the Princess's betrothed belongs to. And also that's where Evie's strange pyramid artifact is from.

We decide we need to return to Belisare to relay information. Muriel makes the arrangements for the Symphony to depart tomorrow.

Roxy makes an effort to access her Sight relating to The Forsaken. The Sight takes her north to the Rift. She Sees two pyramids of black and red and giant chunks of Chaos Stones. Then she is thrown into the Rift and she Sees the city encased in ice. There is a white and gold building in the center of town that has a particularly thick sheet of ice over it. It is this city's Library and Roxy's Sight takes her inside it. There is a tall lanky firey-eyed thing there, but the fire is silvery blue. The thing is browsing the library, but then it looks directly at Roxy. Its mouth opens and it says in a feminine voice, "Oh that is very rude! How dare you!" It shuts the book and stomps down the hall. Roxy breaks the Sight.

Roxy tells us she thinks she Saw The Forsaken. It was a Greater Dead. Evie and Muriel point out that often when things see you back in such visions they typically hurt you rather than stomping away and leaving.

Evie copies the note going to Ramoniel and sends a message by hawk. We all have dinner and go to sleep. Corian finds more pleasant company for the night.

Muriel and Evie both wake up feeling unease and smell Free Magic. Muriel gets out of bed and slings on her bells immediately. Evie also hears a hum of Free Magic energy coming from where Finn is sleeping. And Evie's treasure chest with the pyramid is gone. Evie creeps outside Finn's door and Muriel notices, asking if that's where the Free Magic is coming from. Evie opens the door. Finn is asleep, but his hand is reached out holding the pyramid. An eye over his shoulder appears, sees us, and Finn drops as does the pyramid.

We wake up Finn and tell him what happened. His Free Magic-tainted hand and arm are exposed and he frantically searches for his glove. We discuss with him about the Free Magic accident. Muriel suggests we discuss this more in the morning with Roxy and Corian involved.

When Evie wakes up she notices that though she did cast a Diamond of Protection around the pyramid after the events of last night, the little soap stone dog is sitting on the chest. Evie takes it and puts it back in her pocket. Evie goes to check on Finn. He says he's really tired because he stayed up longer.

Finn doesn't bother putting on his glove for breakfast. He tells the whole group about his Free Magic problem and that Hastenian may want to do some experiments on him.

On the way back to the airship Evie catches something out of the corner of her eye. It's Arielle staring back at her as she turns. The rest of the group keeps walking past Evie. Evie hears Mosrael ring and Arielle's eyes open. Her mouth opens, her eyes burst into silver-blue flame, and the ice around her cracks and starts flying toward Evie's face. She casts an armor spell on herself reflexively but then Arielle is gone. Evie falls to her knees and starts sobbing. Muriel runs back to find her and comfort her.

Finn casts detect magic and feels something like a scrying spell. He tells Evie and Muriel about this.

Evie and Roxy thank Garnelle, Pearl, and Amathym and they give Roxy a present. It is a box with a Charter-spelled knife inside.

We take off and it's clear sailing all the way to Belisare.

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Into The Library

We all arrive at the Clayr's Glacier. Roxy is feeling hesitant about going home, but she's putting on a cheerful facade. Corian is already hitting on ladies. Garnelle gives Roxy a blank stare. "You're late." Muriel hands over the scroll to Garnelle. Garnelle says Roxy is always welcome and Roxy hugs her.

Garnelle reads the scroll and crumples it. She smashes her fist into a wall. "I suppose you will be staying here for awhile." She says she will call the Nine Day Watch and takes the gold.

We head toward the glacier entrance but a giant worm sprouts up and menaces Finn. A couple Clayr come over and Finn says we had an encounter with a Free Magic creature on the way here. The Clayr ask to test his Charter Mark and call off the Charter sending. We are allowed into the cold halls of the Clayr, which feels like home to Roxy. Evie speculates that maybe the Clayr don't want the Princess to be found.

The Abhorsen quarters are really really nice and have a load of Sendings. The group takes a bit of rest and Finn heals Muriel's wounds. We have a meal and during it there's a knock on the door and Evie answers it. A young nervous Clayr courier is there and says Roxy is to meet with Garnelle in the morning to receive the message for the Prince.

Evie asks about Roxy's headspace. And also gives Muriel some pointed looks as they're talking, which Muriel ignores.

Evie does some snooping around the Abhorsen quarters. She's always looking for secrets or for any sign of being observed. She finds a small soap stone carving of a dog and pockets it. In her mind this is just to borrow, not to keep.

Meanwhile Muriel is sending back food and asking for specific orders. No one has ever seen a Sending weep in the corner before.

We need to research the stones (which Evie remembered from a book in the Library) and the artifact Evie picked up off the pirate airship. The artifact is a strange red and black pyramid that has turnable nodes. It may be from the Blood Horse tribe from the Northern region. Evie argues that Corian isn't allowed to hold the artifact.

The argument gets heated and Roxy pulls Evie aside to talk to her. Evie is mistrustful of Corian but also intrigued because she wants to know more about the Northern Isles. Eventually Evie is comforted enough and surprise-hugs Roxy.

Finn asks Corian if he and Evie have slept together and says no. But apparently he is looking for a wife. Finn is curious about the Nine Day Watch. Roxy is able to clarify some stuff and says she won't be a part of this one. No one who isn't part of the Watch is allowed to be in the room where it happens.

On the way to the Library Corian gets a lot of looks from the Clayr. We see a bunch of Librarians of all different ranks about. Roxy recognizes a slightly older Clayr Librarian, Perall. She sheepishly says hi and Perall is delighted to see Roxy again. Perall says they've missed her and she's been made Deputy Librarian. Roxy tells her the group is here to look up a few things. We are assigned bracelets.

Perall also recognizes Evie and is so happy to see her. She mentions a very dangerous mission Evie went on into the depths of the Library where some Librarians came back changed. Muriel is pretty shocked to hear this and demands to know what sort of Library this is. Perall says the book Evie is looking for is on the sixth level and "things getting pretty weird down there."

We go down to the next level which has stacks that do not seem as straight and orderly as a normal library would be. Roxy leads us through but…takes us in a circle. She admits it may have been too long. Evie instead takes us to a green door that she thinks will lead downstairs. Evie also sees a door covered by glacier ice and tries to convince us to go there instead. But she relents and just sketches the door instead; we take the green door.

The next floor is ceiling to floor hallways of stacks. There's only one path to go down and it seems to go on forever. Muriel runs her hand down the stacks and a book almost bites her! She senses the danger and snatches away her hand just in time. Muriel proclaims she will be touching no more books.

We continue down the corridor for twenty minutes with no progress. Roxy tells us the one thing we should not do is turn back or try to retrace our steps. Finn suggests maybe we visualize the door we're looking for but Roxy says that probably will not work. Evie remembers this is something she did previously and recommends we press on. Corian suddenly asks Finn about how he's faring and Finn dodges questions in the forever corridor. Finally we reach a turn that has more study carousels and more Clayr working, studying. We see a large red door and a green one. Evie recalls red doors are typically where Clayr keep non-book things and the visitor bracelets won't let us in. We choose the green door. We see a small metal mouse zipping past us. Evie grabs it and it continues to squirm, it cannot talk. Luckily Roxy knows what the mouse is – someone is in trouble. Corian volunteers to cast the Charter spell to make it reverse and lead us to the person in trouble. The mouse reverses and leads us to the next level below.

The third level has books that fly around, disappear, etc. We continue to follow the mouse to the level below.

The fourth floor is very different than the other levels. We are surrounded by ice and books are encased in the ice rather than in stacks. The mouse leads us into a room with a handful of shelves and past a Librarian trapped in ice, crouched and turned away from us. Roxy goes over to see if she can find a way into the ice room. Evie and Muriel try to warn her off because not everything is as it seems in this place. Roxy is unsure and Muriel suggests we should talk to her and yells "Oy!" at her. As we turn away it sheds its human form and bangs against the walls.

The mouse leads us into a room where a Librarian is trying to shoo away a real bore worm what seems to have bust through a wall here. Finn throws a spell of force at it but only manages to rock it back a bit. Corian Charter spells some rock shards at the worm and it flails in anger and pain. Evie casts a Diamond of Protection. Muriel conjures hamsters in a panic and tells them to swarm to the worm. Surprisingly the hamsters distract the worm and leads it out the wall that it came through.

The Librarian gets up and puts her mouse back in her waistcoat. She says the worms only occasionally come in like that. Finn asks her where the door to the Fifth level is and she gives us directions. "Whatever you do don't take the right." We see more creatures trapped behind the ice.

The fifth level has normal-looking book stacks again. Evie tries to go to the left corridor and the stacks suddenly snap shut in front of her. Evie remembers the shelves on the fifth level suddenly shift around. Roxy does a lot of help getting Muriel through the shelves. Her Librarian training prepared her well to be a mercenary. Again we see a red door and a green door. We decide to have a little rest by a little pond with fruit trees around it.

Evie sees a Librarian by the red door who is loaded down with Charter-spelled swords and other objects. Evie offers to help her but the Librarian declines. The red door is creaking closed. She peaks in while its closing but does not go in as Roxy and Muriel yell-whisper at her. As it closes shut she has a small outburst that the Librarians resting by the pond notice.

Evie is still thinking about the door encased in ice from the first level of the Library. Roxy pulls a book that describes the Clayr's Library that has info on the door. It is called "The Door That Sleeps In Darkness And Will Awake In Night." It is a bad door, apparently. Trapping things behind ice is the Clayr's normal way of dealing with unwanted Free Magic anything. After resting we go through the green door and…it looks just like the room we were in. It looks exactly the same – even the Librarians are the same. We decide to go through the shifting shelves instead.

We find the sixth level looks surprisingly like a normal library. The Clayr here seem to be renewing a lot of Charter spells. We start looking for the books Evie needs. After some searching Evie and Finn pick out the correct book. Corian finds one with hidden dirty pictures of course. Evie reads the book and gets pale. She says it's bad. And it is. And we also find a book that indicates Evie's artifact is a piece of a dead god of the Northern tribes that could not be killed except by dismantling it and spreading the pieces far apart.

A loose page falls to the floor and Evie picks it up. It's very old and it's an addendum written during King Touchstone's reign. It is a poem. It seems to be a poem about Evie, Muriel, and their lost little sister, Arielle. Muriel is very distressed and storms off. Corian goes after her while Evie, Roxy and Finn ponder the poem.

Finn points out the poem indicates Arielle is still there. Finn says he's sure they did everything they could to save her but Evie says no; they both just watched in terror.

Muriel gets back to the top floor in a hurry, kind of popping out at the entrance to the first floor. Corian is following behind her. Muriel is stubborn that she doesn't want to talk about the poem and its implications. She says she will wait for the others and "reads" a book.

Roxy notices there are an awful lot of Librarians around considering there's supposedly a large Nine Day Watch going on. Roxy mentions this to Finn. They think something is wrong and Roxy intends to ask Garnelle tomorrow. Finn suggests we ask Perall about it. They also head back to the top of the library.

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