AAR [5h] To catch a master 7-01-2020 @ 21:30 GMT

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Re: AAR [5h] To catch a master 7-01-2020 @ 21:30 GMT

Post by Sharkforce » Thu Jul 02, 2020 5:31 am

From the Journal of Zivilyn, Windling Magician: To Catch a Master

Well, there have been a lot of first for me lately. I met my first non-Windling Shaman (Langren, a nice enough fellow. Wanted to learn Elementalism from me. You know, typical Human stuff, always taking shortcuts). I was mostly dead for a while, that was different. Learned that eagles make terrible enemies. Met some nagas. Dodged a cave troll. Got frozen by tormented spirits. Met a Master of the Hunt (sort of), a discipline that I had not previously heard of. But as usual, I'm getting ahead of myself.

It seems that Langren had been contacted by a Raptor Spirit which had been an ally of the Master of the Hunt I just mentioned, who had died. The fellow had become a Spirit, and had been trapped and tormented by something. The Raptor Spirit had arrived to ask for help. Ever willing to help the Spirits, when he approached me for assistance I agreed, and brought Howler to help. Joining us as well were Temur (another ally of the Spirits), and Nez, who had previously joined me in retrieving the book "Worlds of Arcana", among other adventures. It seems he believes he has recently found his lost friend, Sagarmatha, but was unable to bring him along (I can relate, when I first found Howler I wouldn't have brought him around others, either). I look forward to meeting the great cat in the future.

We headed out, following the Raptor to... well, honestly, it turns out Temur wasn't quite as good at navigating as he thought, so I'm not really sure where we ended up. It was in some wooded hills next to some grasslands, in any event, not that I've just narrowed it down much with that... It was around 5 days journey, I think. I really should learn how to navigate for myself. We got to this area, and the Raptor and Langren started talking, it seems that in the area were... people-snakes, of some variety, according to the Raptor. One of them was the one who had his master captive. Nez and Temur went a bit ahead, sneaking along while I stayed behind with Langren, who would have had no one to watch his back had I joined in the sneaking. That turned out to be unnecessary, but Howler and I were there, just in case. Temur located some snake tracks, big ones; somewhere around 20 feet on average, and lots of them, which was a little unusual, and Langren managed to identify them as coming from nagas.

Nagas are snakes with the heads of women (I'm not sure why only women, it didn't seem polite to ask and besides we couldn't talk to each other except through the Raptor Spirit we were following), and are known to be close to the spirits. We learned from them, after some difficulties inherent to speaking to snake-women through a Raptor Spirit translator (strange ways of thinking abounded), that there was probably one formerly of their group, who had been cast out for torturing spirits. This did not bode well. Before they would divulge the location of this foul one, they wanted a favour... so you can definitely tell that they are close to the spirits already.

Apparently there were some corrupted eagles giving them trouble. This sounded far too easy, and that is because it was not nearly as easy to deal with as it sounded. The eagles were extremely fast, and also poisonous. They would swoop down, strike at us, and then fly away out of reach of most of our group. Temur had his crossbow, and kept at a distance, but they were very swift and difficult to hit, and were able to strike us even though we gathered in a tight group to prevent them from striking at our backs. We were getting whittled down by their attacks, and were not making much progress so I did something that was both wise and also rather foolish; I flew up just high enough to Invoke the wrath of the Leopard Spirits on two of them.

My plan worked; the Leopards knocked them right out of the sky, and they plummeted to their death. Also, I was right in the open air where they could easily reach me and strike at my back. It was most unpleasant. It is fortunate that I carry a last chance salve with me (I had the foresight to mention that I had both that and a Kelia's antidote in my backpack before flying up, which shows about how well I expected my plan to end). I had optimistically hoped that I might simply go unconscious and need the antidote to stop the poison from killing me. No such luck; the eagles landed a mighty blow and knocked me to the ground, and only the salve had any chance of restoring me.

I was obviously not aware for the remainder of the fight, but I am told that with their reduced numbers Temur was able to strike them faster than they could kill us all, with some help from Langren and Nez. One of them barely managed to get away. With the help of a booster potion, a salve of wound closure, and my heated food from that morning, the last chance salve did it's work and while I was unconscious, I was no longer dying. We did need to rest overnight, and have a Hero's Feast in the morning once I woke up, courtesy of Langren, to get me back in proper fighting shape, though. We then headed in the direction the naga had shared with us after we dealt with their eagle infestation (I wasn't awake for that part, so I'm not sure how smoothly it went).

We arrived at the cave and went in cautiously. At a point where the cave opened up into multiple pathways, we could see the tortured spirit of the Master of the Hunt over a hole in the ground, and also we could see that the naga was waiting for us. The results of her past work were with her; two tormented frozen spirits and one tormented spirit of wind and storm. A serious imbalance that stood in need of correcting, and we had come to balance the scales. Also joining in was what I am told was a cave troll, for reasons I do not understand (to clarify, I do not understand why the cave troll was there fighting alongside the naga. The reason for the name is much more clear).

Nez made short work of one of the frozen spirits. Temur went straight after the naga (but not his traditional method of going after women, this time he was trying to hit her with an axe), and Langren imbued us with the Spirit of a Ferret (as he had done in our earlier fight against the eagles). After a few attempts at standing and fighting, Temur instead rode out to a great distance, preparing to charge, and that proved much more effective. He smashed into the naga with great force, severely wounding her, and then finished her off before riding back out again to line up his next charge. The storm spirit had in the meanwhile engulfed Langren, and was electrocuting him. I tried to help him wriggle free, and increased his ability to fight the spirit, but it was to no avail. The spirit eventually knocked him out, triggering his death cheat charm, but then dissipated because the naga was no longer around to bind it to our realm.

Also in the meanwhile, Nez succumbed to the attacks of the cave troll, unfortunately. The frozen spirit had trapped him in place, and so the giant thing struck him down from behind. I resolved to firmly place my back to the wall, with Howler guarding my flank (and attacking the storm spirit, until it left), so that if I was frozen in place I could not be dealt the same fate. I was able to avoid the ogre's attacks and withstand the frozen spirit's until Temur smashed into the cave troll from behind, following which we struck down the remaining frozen spirit, freeing it from imprisonment in its frozen corpse.

All told, we cut it pretty close this time. Fortunately, in the end, the spirits were released from their torment (including the one that we had initially come to free), and Langren found someone who was willing to train him in the ways of the Master of the Hunt for his services. When he asked me about learning Elementalism, I did a bit of research to confirm that he was worthy, and then relented and shared the knowledge with him. I think we've both had enough of doing favours for a little while.

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Re: AAR [5h] To catch a master 7-01-2020 @ 21:30 GMT

Post by Reyntrannin » Wed Jul 22, 2020 5:56 pm

It has been two weeks since my induction as a Journeyman, and I am still coming to terms with the new view I have of the world. I always sensed the spirits around me, even before Shar'gaz taught me what they were, and as my learning grew, my sense of them has become keener. Now though, that former sense of the spirit's world seems like a pale shadow of the reality that is around me. I hear their voices and can speak with them, and can even call upon them to ask their favor.

It is this last that I am concerned with for this entry in my life. As part of my initiation rites, Shar'gaz bade me summon a spirit and entreat its aid, binding myself to return their support with aid of my own. I was successful in this endeavor, summoning a spirit of the Raptors who I entreated for knowledge (and no, I will not share what I asked of him, but I will say that he delivered faithfully). In return for his power, the spirit commanded me to follow him, and once he had led me to a certain place, use all the power at my disposal to free the Spirit of the Namegiver who is trapped there. This spirit is that of someone once bonded to the Raptor Spirit I summoned, and he feels indebted to free his former companion by any means at his disposal, even a young, barely tested Adept.

I realized that I had little chance of success on my own, so I recruited a few stout companions to aid me in my quest. Temur, a Spirit Rider who I had some contact with before, offered to come with me, and he brought two of his friends who were likewise interested. Nez is Beastmaster and has difficulty reconciling that the Spirits of beast are just as alive and vibrant as those which are formed of flesh and blood. Perhaps one day he will see that there is truly no difference between the two. And rounding out our number was Zivilyn, a Windling Shaman who had strayed into many other magical forms, initiating himself as an Elementalist and Wizard as well. This is a new idea for me, to actually extend my own discipline beyond itself and thus incorporate the mind of another Discipline. It has truly changed my outlook on things.

Nevertheless, we set out from Throal following the Raptor (who never gave me a Name to call him by, as is the custom of Spirits). The trip across the plains was rather uneventful, and we soon came to our first clue of what we had to face. The Raptor told me that we were going to meet with "snake-women" who could help us to free his friend. Shortly after this, Temur founds tracks of giant snakes on the ground, and this, along with certain other things I found and the Raptor's description of what we would meet, led me to believe that we were following a tribe of Naga, a creature with the body of a snake and the face of a female Namegiver. Although naga can be frightening to behold, they are often fairly innocuous, choosing to avoid or hide from those that might be a threat. Indeed, if the Raptor had not shown us the path, I think we might have simply gone by the tribe's nomadic encampment none the wiser.

As we approached, I felt that it would be better to only have Zivilyn and I directly approach, while our more militant allies concealed themselves in case fighting broke out. Fortunately, these preparations were not actually needed, and the nagas were willing to converse with us, albeit in a roundabout way. They did not speak any language we knew, but the leader was able to converse with spirits, so, with the Raptor acting as our translator, I was able to explain our situation. Tis took quite a bit of work, as nagas do not view the world in quite the same way as other Namegivers, and spirits even less so, meaning that there was a lot of misunderstanding and lack of clarity as we conversed. Eventually though, the nagas understood what I was asking about and indicated that they did know where to find the spirit we were looking for and how to free him. They were very willing to help us, as this imprisonment involved one of their own number who had become something of a renegade, however, they were constrained by the threat posed by a flock of flying beasts that had been tainted by corruption. Once this threat was dealt with, they would aid me in my endeavor.

After reaching an agreement with the naga tribe, my companions and I went to the place where the flock of corrupted birds was last seen, and it was not long before, as expected, they came calling. The beasts here twisted abominations that mocked the true nobility and grace of all raptors, being eagles that had been tainted by some kind of foul sorcery (likely the work of the very naga we would later meet, I think). Unfortunately, they still retained their speed and mobility, as well as having developed a poisonous touch that made their razor sharp talons even more dangerous. Their swooping attacks gave us little chance to retaliate, as only Temur had a bow, and the spells Zivilyn and I could use to attack them were limited in range. Eventually, it was Zivilyn's bravery that turned the tide. He soared upward just as the eagles were gaining height for another pass and unleashed the power of a leopard spirit on two of them, striking them from the sky. However, this also meant that he was exposed to the retaliation of their brethren, who immediately swarmed the poor Windling, knocking him unconscious while he was still high in the air. Fortunately, he had anticipated this possibility, and informed us that he had a Last Chance Salve in his pack, which we later used, along with other potent healing aids, to revive him from his near death. With two fo the birds dead, and a third grievously wounded by Temur's bow, we eventually ended the conflict, driving the last of the eagles away from the area, and letting us return in triumph to the naga encampment.

The nagas were delighted that the threat they had been laboring under had been removed, and led us to a cavern where they said we could find the spirit we sought within. They also warned us of the 'Evil One', a former member of their tribe who had begun practicing dark magics that warped the world.

Inside the cave, we finally found her lair, and there we also saw the spirit of Corin Halmish, the former Adept we had come to free. He was held in phantasmal chains over a pit in the middle of a large cavern, twisting and writhing in apparent agony and screaming loudly, although there was no sound to be heard. As we stepped forward to relieve him from this torture, the guardians that the Evil One had set rose up and set upon us. She had summoned a couple of dark spirits, a Demiwraith and stormwraith, to act as her guards, but even more surprisingly, she had somehow used her powers of bewitchment to gain the loyalty of a cave troll.

The resulting fight was closer than I like to think of, with on of the spirits engulfing me in its essence and sending pulses of lightning through me every few seconds, and another using an icy chill to freeze Nez in place, leaving him vulnerable to the otherwise slow and easily avoided attacks of the cave troll. Temur spotted the Evil One herself and rode out on his spirit mount to confront her, eventually ending her power with a singular charge from across the cavern. I am told that his riding there was truly masterful, and regret that I was not able to see it at the time.

Although Nez and I both ended up being incapacitated by our opponents (the spirit engulfing me causing so much trauma that my Death Cheat charm was activated)., Temur's quick thinking thinking and dispatch of the Evil One caused the spirits that remained to dissipate, leaving only the Cave troll to deal with. Zivilyn says that he was in dire straights, being frozen in place as the troll approached, only to have his opponent be blasted from behind by Temur's mighty blade.

Having succeeded in breaking the curse, the spirit disappeared, guided away by the Raptor. We then returned to crow of our success to the nagas, but did not find them, as they had moved on while we were dealing with the Evil One's work. The Raptor returned around this time and indicated that he had a gift to share with me. Leading me on a slightly longer trail out of the jungle, we found the ruins of an old cabin, probably from before the Scourge. At the Raptors prompting, I searched the old timbers and found a sealed cask, not very large, which I took with me back to Throal.

The treasures inside were something I had not expected. There were several journals covering the journeys of an Adept Named Corin Halmish, the same Adept whose spirit we had freed. I copied these journals and have already turned them over to the Great Library, but have kept the original writings for myself. Additionally I found a brief letter from Corin, apparently left for whoever should find this. In the letter he explained that he had asked his long time friend and companion (the Raptor who started this whole adventure), to look for a successor to the ways of his discipline, and that whoever finds this letter should follow the ritual that was also described. This brings us to the true treasure locked in that box.

The ritual the letter referred to was one I had heard tales of, but never had seen performed. The Ritual of the Ghost Master. Or rather a modified version of it, which would summon Corin himself to guide the ritualist into the rites of the Master of the Hunt, an obscure Discipline that focuses on the bond between man and animal. With Corin's training, I am learning more and more just how strongly the connection between Namegiver, beast, and spirit is, and how that connection can be used to strengthen and purify our world. My hopes of a bright future continue to grow with each day I learn something new.

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