Old Kingdom : The Forsaken

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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