In this session the adventurers holed up in Taimor, a small redoubt populated by a group known as the Commander’s Watch, along with several of their dedicated volunteers. The Commander’s Watch is essentially a militia group formed by former Pelmoran Infantry and citizens of Pike’s Watch and the surrounding areas. In Taimor the adventurers waited out the severe storm weather and discussed what to do next. This was an excellent story-oriented session where the adventurers did not encounter any combat or puzzles, mainly because the storms kept them in Taimor for two full days. But during that time the party uncovered important clues in the dream world and continued to develop important connections for the continuation of their journey.
The following players characters drank from the mead tent in Taimor:
- Hodjai, the Djenndan fighter and networking busy bee, played by @Evan
- Sookta, the Djenndan blacksmith and Bosen drinking buddy, played by @xSubNuke
- Lemur-o, the kahlnissá ghost and comatose puzzle-solver, played by @Terri
- Ts’uviti, the viantu savant and music therapist, played by @saelbrin
- Aurelia, the kahlnissá procurer and dragon apologist, played by @Judy
Taimor was a welcome oasis. It was a safe place to deal with the horrors conjured forth in blue flames. Throughout the Empire dragons are thought to be completely mythical, but even the older, more superstitious folk who believe they exist would think that the Wyvernborne have long since left this world behind. How could the adventurers make sense of what had happened? Lem’ slept through the whole encounter. Aurelia was away from the group when it happened. The rest of the party saw mostly darkness creep around them and then flames burst forth from the ground; only Kishsahat, who drew the wagon to a halt and stared up into the eyes of the Wyvernborne, truly witnessed the emptiness and profound darkness of Usk’eche’s spawn before the fires appeared. It haunted her more than the heat of the blaze, the injuries of her comrades, or the death of her ox ever could.
Lem’ and Dyrakos were by now resting in Etirys’s hut, while Ts’uviti, Kishsahat, Hodjai, and Sookta were talking with Eliana Hevas who wore an officer’s uniform of the Commander’s Watch. The group remembered Eliana from their previous visit in Pike’s Watch. Back then a capable survivalist, Eliana had seemed troubled by the actions of the Peacekeepers regarding the Ad’Tai. Since that time, it seems, she and her father, Grevion Hevas, formed a small army whose charge is to protect Pelmoran lands in the absence of power caused by the overthrow of the Miren family and the retreat of Lady Grilea to the west. The Peacekeepers were employed by the Empire in an official capacity for such a task, but as Eliana would readily admit, the Peacekeepers were not at all reliable and seemed incapable of policing the increased tendency for banditry that the disbanding of the Pelmoran Knights seemed to encourage. Eliana mentioned to Hodjai that the Commander’s Watch could use capable warriors such as him to help reestablish protection for the lands of Pelmora.
As their conversation with Eliana concluded, the party looked beyond the common fire of the settlement and saw that their companion, Aurelia, had returned from her extended hunt. She joined their conversation as Eliana took her leave, and noted that they look ragged and burned. Ts’uviti described their encounter with the Wyvernborne of Usk’eche to a suspicious and unbelieving Aurelia. It did seem that something horrible had happened to the group, however, and so when Ts’uviti also mentioned that Aurelia should be careful who she touches, the swindler paid heed. Aurelia seemed callously insensitive to the fear and “bad omens” that plagued Kishsahat, and so the Bosenite took the hint and excused herself from the party. She offered her usual one-liner, and then returned to the wagon.
After a short time, Sookta left as well to see if he could speak with Kishsahat. He found her leaning against the charred and broken wagon and drinking heavily from her wine skin. Approaching drunkenness, she shared some wine with the blacksmith and candidly admitted that she was having second thoughts about continuing north on this adventure. She believes that seeing a dragon was the worst of omens. It meant they would all likely be dead soon. Sookta offered her encouraging words and let her know that she was not alone in her fight. The two drank together and after a time Kishsahat’s worry began to subside a bit, either from the encouragement of her comrade or from getting lost in her cups. Feeling a bit inebriated himself, Sookta left Kishsahat alone to pass out in the wagon while he reunited with the rest of his party. The group had gone to Etirys’s hut to check on Lem’ and Dyrakos.
When Sookta arrived at the healer’s hovel, Ts’uviti had his harp out and was playing deep and soothing music to ease Dyrakos’s pain and to quell the mental traumas of his companions. The adventurers gathered their wits and skills here, earning the respect and the hospitality of Etirys. Aurelia, despite her disbelief of dragons and holy fires, could plainly see that Dyrakos was injured, so she began to piece together the pelts she had earned in her hunt in order to craft a hammock that Dyrakos could use to rest within the wagon while the party continued their travels.
But it was too late to travel anywhere else that day; they had arrived just before nightfall. Additionally, the dark-grey skies and heavy rains kept the redoubt’s activities slow and sheltered all throughout the late afternoon. Etirys extended her modest accommodations to the group, which they graciously accepted. Sookta and Hodjai discussed that it would make sense for their next stop to be Pike’s Watch, just under two days north of here. Etirys had told the group that a seer there by the name of Kalousk would likely be able to help them discover what was afflicting their dreams. Just after dusk, Ts’uviti began to grow tired, and laid down to sleep. Alone, across town in her wagon, Kishsahat became drowsy as well. She fell into a drunken slumber. Soon after, Lem’, Kishsahat, and Ts’uviti met each other in a grove of pines.
The dreamers took a short time orienting themselves. Even though in the waking world Lem’ had been asleep for over a day’s time, here it seemed as if she had just moments ago seen Ts’uviti at the burning house. She was unaware of any time passing between that scene and this moment. Ts’uviti explained to Lem’ that they had traveled an entire day after that moment in the dream, that they had encountered what Kishsahat referred to as the “Wyvernborne of Usk’eche,” that the wagon had caught fire with Lem’ still inside, and that Dyrakos almost died during the encounter. Lem’ could see the conviction in Ts’uviti’s countenance and the fear behind Kishsahat’s eyes. She was inclined to believe.
Back in the waking world, Aurelia was finishing her hammock and used many of her remaining pelts to create a new cover for the burned wagon. These repairs would help them make it to Pike’s Watch with the wagon and some semblance of protection from the elements. Soon after the dreamers entered their world, the rest of the group of adventurers also began to settle down to sleep. Etirys prepared a place in the main room of her hut for people to stretch out on the floor. There was not much room, but it was mostly dry and warm, so it was as good a place as any to sleep for the night.
The dreamers in their plight were drawn from the pine groves back to the center of a field, where behind them they heard screaming coming from a burning farm house. This time the three dreaming adventurers knew what to expect, and rushed to the burning structure and began to pry their way inside. There they found Rakemdellvk trying to lift a burning beam from its place of rest on the lower half of a young girl. A frail, sickly boy knelt by the girl, sobbing. There were others in the house who also appeared dead and trapped under burning debris. A man who sounded something like Rakemdellvk was outside on the other side of the house, shouting frantically. Kishsahat immediately began to help Rakemdellvk remove the beam, burning her arms in the process. Lem’ took it upon herself to see if there were other survivors amid the blaze. Ts’uviti reached out to touch the young boy and suddenly the frail youth became the Dadrauth they had met, fully grown and wearing dark robes. Dadrauth reached his hand out toward Ts’uviti’s face, saying “Shh….” Ts’uviti fell into a deep sleep, crumpling to the charred, floor next to Kishsahat.
Lem’ immediately found herself separated from the scene, appearing in a small house of a foreign design. There, Rakemdellvk and a man who looked similar–perhaps his brother–argued with one another. When she asserted herself in the scene, Rakemdellvk’s brother scoffed and left the room, and Rakemdellvk comforted Lem’ in a language she could not understand. Meanwhile Kishsahat, who had just witnessed Lem’ disappear, gathered Ts’uviti into her arms to be sure the two of them were not separated. Soon after, the Bosenite with her viantu cargo appeared in the outer courtyard a strangely structured house, obviously of wealthy means. Kishsahat began to look around for clues, and wandered inside the house. No sooner did she see Rakemdellvk conversing with a flaxen-haired noble of sorts, than she suddenly was drawn back to the waking world. Ts’uviti who had been asleep within the dream woke up sputtering in Etirys’s hut. To everyone’s surprise, Lem woke up as well.
The dreamers had slept into mid-morning, though the deceitfully dark storm clouds that persisted throughout breakfast made the exact time unclear. Over the morning meal the dreamers compared notes. Kishsahat talked to Hodjai about when they should leave. Her conversation bordered on impatience, but the party discussed waiting out the storm yet another day. The group spent a good deal of time contemplating the dreams that plagued three of the adventurers. Hodjai grew incredibly uneasy of the workings of the Echrile and took his leave to keep himself busy and take his mind off the intrigue.
Amid all their theories about what the Echrile was doing and what Dadrauth’s purposes were, Ts’uviti noticed that when the dreamers touch people in the dream, something happens; they become marked similarly to the way those they touch in the waking world are affected by the mark of the Echrile. They decided that they would begin to mark everyone they could within the dream. The group soon found themselves being drawn back into the realm of dreams.
The dreamers began to explore the dreams more liberally, interacting with the other characters they saw there. Lem’ saw a young flaxen haired noble boy playing in an long, elaborate marble hallway. Ts’uviti and Kishsahat incited riots at a rich villa. Lem’ encouraged Rakemdellvk not to argue with his brother. In each of the varied moments through their dream explorations, time and space seemed incomprehensible and ill-navigable. The more the dreamers tried to explore, the more it began to seem obvious that they had no direct ability to effect the outcome of each sequence. It seemed that their only ability rested in Ts’uviti’s skill to sense when the dream sequence was about to change. That, and in marking dream characters, was all the active control they could command in the realm of dreams. And the longer they remained in the dream space, the more they began to lose sense of their orientation of time and space. After witnessing what seemed like countless vignettes of the past and present, Dadrauth appeared once again to the dreamers. It was in a wood-paneled room where Ts’uviti had watched a flaxen haired noble pay money to a group of brigands. Dadrauth manifested himself to the dreamers. “Thank you,” he murmured cryptically. Then with a wave of his hands the dreamers awoke.
It was early morning in Etirys’s hut. The storms had finally passed; beams of sunlight carried swirls of dancing dust from the windows to the hovel floor. The smells of breakfast and the stares of their comrades greeted them. What had Dadrauth meant when he thanked the dreamers? Where did these dreams take place? And when? So many questions presented themselves. The group gathered their wits around the breakfast table and made their plans. With the weather right, they were poised to rush toward Pike’s Watch and seek out Kalousk; perhaps she would be able to help them directly. Maybe then they would be able to overcome their dream afflictions and continue toward the Djenndan Protectorate without the stain of Dadrauth’s Echrile haunting their sleep. The answers to their questions might yet await the adventurers in our next session!