Continuing their journey toward the Djenndan Protectorate, the adventurers brave the roads and navigate the wilds to head north toward their fortune. At the same time some of the party struggle with strange visions attributed to the Echrile: The Candle of Dreams. The visions have grown in intensity and intrigue. Now that both Lem’ and Ts’uviti suffer the Echrile’s touch, the group must race to find answers before their friends succumb to what seems like it could be an eternal sleep. This session had few combat encounters, but so much seemed to happen it was still an intensely packed narrative. Additionally, toward the end of the session, the adventurers had a nearly impossible encounter with a most unexpected legend.
The following players characters their travels north through Weyell:
- Hodjai, the Djenndan fighter turned watch commander, played by @Evan
- Sookta, the Djenndan blacksmith turned stimulant pusher, played by @xSubNuke
- Lemur-o, the kahlnissá ghost turned wagon freeloader, played by @Terri
- Ts’uviti, the viantu savant turned inception-style dream extractor, played by @saelbrin
We began the session in the adventurers’ sixth night of travels on the northern road. Reflecting on the grueling battle they had just survived against three violent brigands, the group made camp and prepared for an evening of sleep. Dyrakos opted to cook for everyone, both to lift their spirits and to forgo another round of bear meat pies. Kishsahat was nearly out of flour and grains anyway, so the soupy broth was a welcome sight and a wholesome smell. Ts’uviti foraged the surrounding areas to find nuts, berries, and leafy edibles that they might add to the soup. He came back with an armload of wild lettuce, mud onions, tree nuts, and acorn berries. Dyrakos was almost grinning in approval behind his stoic, blinking gaze. Hodjai and Sookta were visibly grimacing, however, and turned a sour shade of green at the smell of the simmering bear fat with mud onions; each of the Djenndan adventurers spent time in the brush retching out what remained of the earlier battle.
The evening meal was soothing and delicious, and soon the group retired to sleep. Lem’ and Ts’uviti planned for what they might do once they find themselves in the realm of the Echrile. Hodjai stood watch while the rest of the party warmed their tents. Soon after, Lem’ and Ts’uviti appeared in a rather familiar pine grove. Instead of letting the events of the scene play themselves out, they decided to run toward the edge of the grove and try to find out where they were. Ts’uviti found a tree near the border of the shrubs and climbed it. Peeking above the treeline he could see they were in a grove at the edge of a broad, hilly field, and beyond the rise of the central hill to the east of this grove there stood a farmhouse. The viantu adventurer climbed down and led them east toward that settlement.
Lem and Ts’uviti walked through the field and approached the farmhouse. There was a man working in the yard, chopping wood. He wore simple clothes, they had a dated look about them and though they were clean seemed to be the clothes of a peasant. Smoke rose from the chimney of the house; it filled the yard with the smell of cedar and roasted pheasant with onions. As soon as the adventurers began to speak, they realized that the words they spoke here were those of another language. They still thought in the common tongue, and looked like themselves, but the words that sounded from their mouths and the clothes they wore were foreign to them. Lem and Ts’uviti engaged the working man in conversation, but his replies were also in this strange language and as such were unintelligible. Their questions obviously confused the man; it was clear that he could understand them, but he also noticed that their questions were strange and that they seemed not to understand him. They did seem to gather the man’s name, however: Rakemdellvk.
Inside the farmhouse there were also people keeping busy. A woman was preparing a modest meal. There was a young, thin man with thin hair who was drawing husks from corn. In a nearby room, a sickly boy was laying in bed, being attended by a young girl who fed him soup. The boy’s skin was pale and nearly translucent. His lips and cuticles were purplish red, and his eyes glazed. The adventurers immediately thought that this boy must be Dadrauth, but there was no time to reflect. Ts’uviti realized that they were about to move to another part of the dream. The two touched hands and suddenly found themselves in the field outside. They heard screams behind them, chilling screams that echoed across the field. They decided that they would run away from the sounds for a change, and headed west toward the pine groves. But this only found them back at the center of the field. Perplexed, they turned and headed to the house.
The heat from the burning farmhouse melted an autumn chill away from the air. The screams from inside the flames were more anguish than urgency. Lem shouted “Rakemdellvk!” at the roaring amber waves and an unintelligible answer confirmed that he, too, was inside. Ts’uviti grabbed a nearby pole and began to pry his way into the blazing beams of wood. The adventurers managed to break a path inward. Inside Rakemdellvk was burning the flesh from his arms as he tried to lift a beam that had fallen on a young girl whose screams had faded to labored gasps. A sickly-looking boy knelt by her, sobbing. Lem and Ts’uviti tried to help Rakemdellvk, and in their motion Lem happened to touch Rakemdellvk on the arm. In all the commotion that followed, Ts’uviti and Lem became separated. Suddenly they both found themselves someplace else.
Lem was standing in a darkly lit room, opposite a similarly-dressed soldier. They framed a table in the center of the room that stretched between a stout, filthy man and Rakemdellvk, who looked a bit younger than when she had last seen him. Rakemdellvk was handing the smiling, stout swindler a fat bag of coins. Meanwhile, Ts’uviti found himself wading through an verdant pool. He scarcely was able to gather his bearings before he realized he was moving in the dream space once again. In a flash, he found himself staring up at Dyrakos, who had been watching him sleep. “It’s time for breakfast,” the adventurer said. Ts’uviti looked around and realized he was in his tent, removed from the dream world. It was approaching mid-morning. Back in the dream world, Lem shifted without Ts’uviti there to warn her. She found herself in a grove of pines and quickly began to lose the sense that she was dreaming. In the waking world, the adventurers gathered for a late breakfast. It was clear that Lem’ was still asleep. Ts’uviti was groggy, and even though to him it only felt as if a short time had passed, he had been asleep for twelve hours.
Kishsahat helped break camp and situate Lem’ in the back of the wagon and the party made their way north once again, their seventh day of travels. On the road, Hodjai asked Ts’uviti to recount his dreams, and they adventurers all began to discuss what they thought might be happening. In mid conversation, the group noticed the shrubs along the roadside ahead were shaking. Not wanting to endure another encounter with brigands, the party drew to a halt to wait and watch. After a short time, the shaking leaves burst into flames and out walked a large grotesque rodent that seemed to be dripping a flammable ooze from its mouth. It was a fabled hellrat. Stories are told about these beasts, that they are the cause of forest fires around the Empire. The creature seemed to be scorching the ground foliage and consuming the charred roots and remains of insects, essentially cooking its food in a most rudimentary way. There are some who think the hellrat is nothing but a myth, and that the tales of forest fires being caused by them are pure nonsense. But the adventurers were all staring at one directly in their path. Suddenly it seemed best to avoid the creature. With a bit of luck, they managed to give the road a wide birth around where the hellrat was feeding, and the beast paid no attention to them.
The rest of the day’s travel seemed mostly uneventful until just before nightfall. Little was said on the road as Lem’ slept in the wagon. It was eerily quiet save for the creak and clack of the ox wagon. A strange feeling was cast over the party like a dark blanket, though, when they were suddenly shrouded in a nightly black even though they should have had an hour of daylight left. The group looked up into the sky, befuddled. Kishsahat drew the wagon to a halt. She was barely able to shout “Holy shit, that’s a Wyvernborne of Usk’eche,” when her words were drowned in an deafening ocean of a deep, echoing roar that seemed to be at once both a painful sound and an unfathomable trauma to the soul. The great beast’s wings flapped as it flew overhead adding a gust of unholy wind to the shaking of its thunderous howl. Just as the great god’s voice ceased its torture, the shadows below its form erupted into flames of cobalt and azure. The blue heat dissipated just as quickly as it sprang forth, leaving ardent flames in its wake. The front of the ox wagon became the focal point for the fire. Kishsahat managed to jump away from the blast, but one of her oxen burst open from the heat, its skin forming first leather, then charcoal, then ash. Dyrakos, who was near the wagon’s front as well, was ejected into the roadside brush with severe burns along the back and left side of his body. Then another gust of wind signaled the return of the afternoon sun.
With the wagon aflame, Kishsahat struggled to retrieve Lem and in the process touched the sleeping kahlnissá on the arm. She felt a burning in her palm: the mark of the Echrile. She realized that she would soon succumb to the same dreams as her companions. The aftermath of the dragon’s fire left the adventurers injured, demoralized, and nearly without a wagon. It was lucky that the Wyvernborne was simply flying by and paid them no attention.
Sookta cobbled together a makeshift wagon lashing for the remaining ox, and the adventurers limped onward. Just before nightfall they arrived at a small settlement just a few days south of Pike’s Watch. It was a makeshift camp, called Taimor, made up mostly of soldiers who wore a cloak unfamiliar to the adventurers. They made their way into the settlement center and asked for help for their injuries. It is unlikely that anyone would believe what they had just encountered that had left them in this state, but at least there were friendly people here, and as it turns out there were some familiar faces. A healer by the name of Etirys met the adventurers, and though she could not do anything to help Lem’, she took Dyrakos under her care to treat his burns.
The thunder rumbled overhead while the adventurers, still shaking from their encounter, gathered their wits. What was their next move? Would Etirys be able to figure out what is causing their dreams and why? And why are there soldiers camped south of Pike’s Watch? The adventurers pick up the pieces as the saga continues!