AAR: [6H] Hungry like the wolf (2020-08-25 @ 23:30 GMT)

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Re: AAR: [6H] Hungry like the wolf (2020-08-25 @ 23:30 GMT)

Post by Sharkforce » Wed Aug 26, 2020 7:31 am

From the Journal of Zivilyn, Windling Magician: Hungry Like the Wolf

Vralino sure doesn't wait very long before calling in her markers. Ah well, I'm glad to help with introducing another to the Discipline of Elementalism anyways. She had recently gotten a magical tattoo kit as a gift from someone, along with some notes, and she called for me to come along with her to Lake Ban, where the notes directed her to go to meet someone named Jeremiah Breyer. I must say, it was nice to meet some of her friends, who were mostly new to me; Thorkell, a Troll Weaponsmith, A'horangi, a T'skrang monk, and LaShana, a Windling "Acquisition Specialist" who, according to my older journal entries is a Thief that I very briefly met during the final attack on Grakor. Naturally, Howler accompanied us on our journey as well.

The trip to Lake Ban was largely without incident, although Vralino seemed in quite a hurry to be there for some reason. We made good time down to Kampung Gaja where we were able to get passage on one of the river boats headed towards Lake Ban. I made sure to wave as we passed Skyreader Island, though I'm not sure anyone there noticed. Howler gave a nice, long, welcome howl, which I imagine was much more easily noticed, and which I hope they recognized. In any event, they didn't *look* like they were worried that the dreaded river-wolf was coming to get them or anything like that.

We met Jeremiah, who was surprised to see us so soon, and directed us towards a meeting with "someone very important". Well, I suppose I am nominally part of their Aropagoi (or at least, I assume I am; I can't imagine our Niall has avoided becoming part of the Great House that controls the river they live on), so it will be nice to meet someone who is high ranking. It pays to have friends in high places, after all. We were introduced to a T'skrang lady named... hold on a moment, I've got it written down somewhere... "Kuhai Siandra V'strimon". I guess T'skrang like having lots of names even more than most people I've met, but I guess since she's some higher-up I should probably write all of them in case someone else reading this needs to know (but seriously, does she have a sister named Kuhai as well that she needs an extra name to distinguish between the two?). She gave Vralino a wax ring (like, literally made of wax) and another note to open after we did whatever we were supposed to do.

Anyways, she sent us off to some place that was familiar to the rest of the group. Feels a bit weird being the one person nobody else knows, truthfully. Griffin Falls or something like that? Well, I don't know why it's "Griffin" Falls because I saw zero griffins on the way there, zero griffins once we got there, and zero griffins on the way back. Then again, I hear jungle griffins can be even more touchy about Namegiver interlopers into their territory anyways, so that's probably for the best. Unless they all died in the scourge or something... I hope not. I'll have to make a note to research what the place was like before the scourge, some day.

Regardless, we went up the Galanga river, where a merchant company run by two brothers (well known to the others in the group, it seems) had been setting up a ferry service along the river, got to the falls (where I was quite pleased to gift the land-bound among us with the gift of flight to get us down quickly), and then A'horangi and Vralino got naked and jumped into the pool at the bottom, where I could sense an Elemental connected to the waterfall. LaShana hid in Thorkell's backpack, and I figured this was a great time to learn how to speak Water Elemental without having to go swimming, and was pleased to discover I could easily understand her words after a bit of listening.

The Spirit's name was Anahita, and sent Vralino to the south along the river to find the hunter she was seeking, which task Vralino accepted (Anahita had some means of communicating in Throalic). Of course, as it turned out when I asked her what hunter, Vralino realized that perhaps she should have asked a few more questions, but the Spirit was not forthcoming with any further information. We figured maybe we'd know when we saw it, headed to the south, and sure enough a few hours later LaShana spotted a pair of glowing red eyes. Vralino indicated it was some sort of creature that had been associated with the dreadful bird horror up in the Marrek Valley, which had been hunting all the local Windling Tribes. We resolved that we would need to deal with it, but after looking in the river the middle areas were strangely devoid of fish, as Thorkell noticed, and so we suspected an ambush. Still, Vralino had come here to learn about water as part of her initiation into Elementalism, and she decided to fight in the river (LaShana and I, being sensible windlings, fought near the water but not in it of course).

Now, for any readers wondering "who would be crazy enough to notice that there are dangerous things in the water and then go in anyways", I will refer you to the journal entries of my fellow Adepts, and simply say, "not I". Sure enough, as if I needed any more reasons to not want to go for a swim, the water had a pair of creatures that I was able to identify as ufghanti, and a pair of giant insects like preying mantis creatures called inshalata. The inshalata are dangerous because they grab you and pin you in place while they eat your face (heh, that rhymes!), the ufghanti are dangerous because they are poisonous and can spit it at you and like to attack you from two directions with their two heads, and they're both especially dangerous when they catch you off guard, like for example when you're in the water up to your neck and can't move very quickly.

A'horangi caught the brunt of the ufghanti attacks, while the inshalata were initially only able to reach a large rock in the middle of the river; small blessings, indeed. I would not have liked to be grasped in those claws out of nowhere. Fortunately, my Danger Sense helped me evade their initial assault (well, that and the whole "not standing in water up to my neck" plan) and we had prepared in advance with a fully strengthened Ferret Reflex spell, so I was able to immediately commence with testing out my new Willforce talent. The Leopard Spirits must have been invigorated by our jungle surroundings, for they pounced upon the Inshalata with great enthusiasm, knocking them to their bellies and carving out great gashes in their armour-plated bodies. Meanwhile, A'horangi left the water, and I sent Howler in (but not too deep) to take a chunk out of an ufghant that had unwisely left its back exposed in its enthusiasm. Vralino was also doing surprisingly well for someone in the water, and Thorkell joined in the "water up to your neck" plan for some crazy reason, and managed to land a couple of decent blows as well as forcing the ufghant to turn its back to Howler again.

Fortunately, these creatures are *much* less dangerous when they do not have the advantage of surprise, and so after their initial assault we were able to deal with them in short order. Unfortunately, the glowing red eyes had left, but the Spirit had never directed us to *defeat* the hunter, only to find it, which we did. We settled down with a Hero's Feast and I Heated our Food, set up camp, and we rested in comfort in Shelters while sleeping comfortably on Air Mattresses. In the morning we headed back to the waterfall, and Anahita told us to read the note Kuhai had given us. That note directed us to Sosanopa, so we headed off back up the Galanga, out to the main trade road, and went to Sosanopa. Benjamin was there, and sent us up the Serpent to the Marrek Valley to go to "the heart of the forest".

Apparently the last time Vralino had been this way, their ship got attacked while they were away, because she was very firm about them staying away from the shore and keeping an eye out. I imagine the main problem she was here the last time was the giant bird horror murdering all the Windlings, and the ship would probably have been safe, but I suppose it never hurts to be certain. We took a smaller boat to the shore, headed into the forest, got more or less lost, and lucked into finding the right place anyways (I guess), because there were two very weird creatures called Molgrim waiting for us. These ones were unusually fast, and rushed towards us, but failed to cause any serious damage. The main threat was actually that LaShana had separated herself from the rest of us, and the shadowy creature that belonged to those red eyes was in the area attacked her from behind.

Fortunately, it also struggled to land a particularly devastating blow, and LaShana was alright. Apparently the Leopard Spirits were less certain about jumping on Molgrim at first, because they didn't answer my call the first time. I decided instead that I would focus on helping our group avoid the blows of our enemies, as each side struggled to land a good, solid hit on the other. Fortunately our luck changed not long afterward, as Vralino and Thorkell moved in and just gutted the foul monstrosity that had aided in the hunting of the Almarra Windlings from either side, and the Leopard Spirits seemed to have figured out the whole Molgrim business and proceeded straight to sinking their teeth deep into their throats (I can understand why at first they might have been uncertain where to strike, though. Molgrim are quite odd, as I well knew thanks to having actually recently Memorized a tome on the subject of the strange creatures).

At this point, a Windling on a Zoak flew down from the sky with another message (the others recognized her as Shirala of the Almarra Windlings). This one said to come to the Cliff City Syrtis (on the riverboat we had taken, which did not get attacked), and when we got there we were greeted again by a welcoming committee, who Vralino did not seem to like very much. I gather they were the ones who didn't welcome the Almarra Windlings the last time she was here, but we shortly were introduced to the Shivalahala of Syrtis, who explained that the Windlings were meant to be in Lake Ban, and that Vralino needed to be more accepting of some things that must come to pass. Vralino, for her part, did her best to be civil, but it was obvious her heart wasn't in it (you could tell because, ironically enough, she didn't stick her foot in her mouth while trying to introduce herself this time). I'm not sure how much Vralino really heard, which is unfortunate because by now it was pretty obvious that the Shivalahala, famed for her oracular prowess, had been arranging things on our behalf this entire time with people expecting our arrival exactly as we reached our destination each time).

She sent us to our final destination, Lake Ban, following down the Serpent River on another boat. We arrived just in time for a celebration, which we found out was on behalf of the new Shivalahala... who was the same T'skrang we had met with earlier, Kuhai. I think I can probably get away with just calling her by her title and not offending anyone, although I am now even more confused why she needs an extra name; I mean, there definitely isn't another Shivalahala with her name that might be confused for her. She promised Vralino the opportunity to learn Elementalism in the famed towers of the Floating City, and I got an opportunity to do a little studying there myself, although I did not have much time, since I had other commitments in Throal (LaShana had a most unusual bow that I was able to research for her, and Thorkell was quite excited to get the chance to forge Wyvern Oil).

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Re: AAR: [6H] Hungry like the wolf (2020-08-25 @ 23:30 GMT)

Post by verse86 » Wed Aug 26, 2020 10:45 pm

Thorkell's Journal:
Vralino came bursting in today speaking rapidly about a summons. From what I could understand, she was to head to the Floating City of V'Strimon. We gathered up a group of the usual suspects (A'horangi and LaShana) as well as a newcomer, a windling mage by the name of Zivilyn.
Our trip down to the the Floating City was uneventful if a little hurried. We rode down to Kampung Gajah and from there took a river boat the rest of the way.

Upon our arrival, we met up with a man name Jeremiah Breyer. He seemed surprised we were able to arrive on time. He led us to a meeting with a T'skrang woman who introduced herself as Kuhai Siandra V'strimon. She gave Vralino a wax ring and a letter with instructions to journey to Griffin Falls and commune with the water spirit. Vralino seemed excessively excited to have her very own mission and immediately set out.
We decided to backtrack back up to Kampung Gajah and follow the Galanga River since we knew the path was cleared from a previous mission for the Daicars. We arrived at Griffin Falls with no problem. Let me say, having a wizard along is very handy. A four hour trek down a switchback path to the bottom of the falls was cut down to merely minutes thanks to Zivilyn's Flight spell. The feeling of flight is quite exhilarating. I wonder if my ancestors felt a similar euphoria when manning their drakkars.

A'horangi was no stranger to speaking with the spirit of the falls and wasted no time diving in to make her greetings. Vralino joined her with the wax ring. The two windlings and I decided to wait on the shore, LaShana deciding to take extra precaution by hiding in my backpack. Upon their return, we learned that the spirit tasked Vralino with seeking "the hunter" to the south. In her excitement at receiving a task, she forgot to ask any more details. She considered going back to get some clarification, but decided we would figure it out as we went. I didn't question it because things just seem to work out for that girl.

We set out to the south with no particular aim. As we chanced upon a river, I noticed a pair of glowing eyes in the bushes on the other side. I was immediately chilled. Those were eyes I would never forget, the eyes of the King of Crows' scouts: the Umbral Stalker. They watched from a distance as they always do. I warned the party of the danger. Vralino was all for charging them. I suggested some caution. Something seemed off in how they were just waiting. I sensed a trap. After looking around, I realized what caused this sense of uneasiness: the fish in the river were all congregating towards the banks. Something dangerous must be lurking in the deeper water. Vralino, harder to bend than some swords I have worked, decided the risk was worth it and plowed into the water. Fortunately, my hesitation gave Zivilyn enough time to prepare some extra spells to help us out, because no sooner did Vralino reach the deep water than she was set upon by some two-headed snake creatures. Zivilyn would later inform us these were Ufgants. He is the only reason I know the names of any of these beasts. Some large mantis creatures (Inshalata) jumped out from the opposite bank and landed on the large rock in the middle of the river as well. A'horangi was immediately injured by the surprise attack and decided prudence was the best course so moved back out of the water to recuperate. I couldn't leave Vralino alone in the water with these two monsters so waded in to help. Zivilyn used some magic that created cats that leapt at the mantis and smashed them into the ground while he sent his wolf to help us deal with the Ufgants. We really should bring mages along more often. LaShana did what she does best and took every opportunity to hit the creatures in their weakest points. This earned her the ire of one of the Inshalata who leapt at her, but fortunately missed. A'horangi, being the best swimmer of us all, crossed the river to help LaShana deal with that one.

With our battle finished, we were unsure if we had accomplished what we were tasked with. The only way we could know was to head back and talk to the spirit. After Vralino's return from her talk with the spirit, she seemed somewhat confused. The spirit apparently was trying to teach her a lesson about water. Not one to be put off by such things (or think too hard), Vralino opened her letter to see what was next. We were to head up to Sosanopa.

Our trip to Sosanopa was uneventful. Breyer was there waiting for us with instructions. We were to head back to the Almarra's home and head into the heart of the jungle. We made our way by boat and then by foot. We got lost in the woods, but honestly that seems about the best way to find the heart. We stumbled upon these absolutely odd creatures I would later find out were called Molgrim. And once again, we found the eyes watching us. The Molgrim leapt at us but couldn't seem to get any purchase. Neither could we it seems. LaShana darted off to get a better vantage point to fire at them. It seems that's what the Umbral Stalker was waiting for. If not for Zivilyn's warning LaShana would have been in its jaws. Both Vralino and I knew firsthand how rare it was to catch an Umbral Stalker for any amount of time out of astral space and decided this was our moment. In two decisive blows from us we rendered the monster unconscious. The rest of the party were finally able to get the rhythm of the odd creatures and were able to land their own decisive blows.

Upon their defeat, Shirella arrived with a missive with our next instructions. We were to head to the cliff city of Syrtis. Once we arrived we were met with the Shivalahala of Syrtis who wished to explain the situation from before and why she had to deny us entry. It seems she is clairvoyant and the fate of the Almarra was to settle in V'strimon. I'm not sure Vralino understood, but it eased my grievance somewhat. From there we were to return to V'strimon. We met once again with Kuhai Siandra V'strimon who we found out was a Shivalahala herself. She informed Vralino that she had passed the trials before her and would be allowed to train in the ways of Elementalism. The rest of us headed back home.

Perhaps this is too sentimental... but after retracing many of our steps, I can't help but think about how far we have come.

In other business, LaShana wished to have us work more on Whispers of Frailty. After my previous experience with it, I suggested A'horangi, Zivilyn, and I split the work amongst ourselves so as not to let the effects weigh too long on any one individual. I was able to forge it to be better than it has ever been. This bow will surely strike true for her now. Zivilyn also gave me his armor to forge. He warned me that it was a thread item by the name of Wyvern Oil and could leak oil making it rather slippery. I think he downplayed the effects a bit. This was the most challenging forging I have ever done. Every other effort I made to enhance merely glanced off. I was able to create a new technique that allows for better purchase upon such objects, though. *drawings and diagrams of his special method follow*

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Field Notes of A'horangi Ha'hana Syrtis, Vol. 2

Post by bronzemountain » Wed Sep 23, 2020 2:10 pm

Entry 2.

Vralino Hammer-Shield seeks to connect to Discipline of Elementalist. Surprising, but ambition seems to be related to family. Heroic efforts saving Almarra Windlings have created connection with newly reborn Shivalahala V'strimon. Impressive, especially for new Elementalist.

Task is set: travel back through personal history. Understand elements. Amanuensis is one human, Jeremiah Bryer. Strange name.
Accompanying: Thorkell, LaShana, Zivilyn.

Site 1: Water (Griffin Falls)
Pleased to be in water again. Pleased to see Anahita, spirit of the Falls again. Vralino told to find 'The Hunter'. Sets off immediately, full of enthusiasm.

In river to the south, multiple definitions of Hunter. Layered instructions.
1. Ominous red eyes on other shore.
2. Ufghaunts in water. Familiar hunters in Shivoam. Dangerous, wonderful creatures.
3. Strangely Water-imbued Inshalata. Uncommon. Also dangerous. Can leap and swim with equal ease.

Fight with prudence and humility. New scar on abdomen. Fractured rib. Good to fight in the water, however. Good to be reminded of limits, also.
Vralino and Thorkell recognize red eyes. Claim they belong to an Umbral Stalker encountered during Almarra rescue. They feel need for vengeance; must be careful to temper that feeling.

Anahita asks Vralino what lesson was learned. Vralino so young. Does not even realize she was here to learn lessons, even though purpose of entire journey is to learn Elementalism. Lesson: Water seems kind and peaceful but is also deep and dangerous. Similar to Paradox of Water.

Site 2: Wood? Unclear. (Marrek Valley)
Site of Almarra flight. Come upon strange creatures. Molgrim. Jaspree's childhood project? Ill-fitted animals but potent. Fast - very fast. Later research indicates faster than normal. Fierce but easy to deal with.
More dangerous - Umbral Stalker re-appears. Keen eyes and swift blades dispatch it, finally. There is closure, a coda to previous heroism. Trick seems to be to defeat it before it finds its way back to Astral space.

Lesson unclear. Perhaps that life always finds new ways to surprise?

Directed by Shirala, Windmaster, to Cliff City. My home. Vralino harbors ill will towards T'skrang due to lack of understanding of Shivalahala's prophetic instructions. Young, fierce, in the way of her people. Full of life and zest. But also narrow. People of Cliff City explain, which is itself a gift. Prophecy is rarely explained. Vralino is faintly mollified, not convinced. Does not understand the losses, infinite tragedies of Cliff City and its Shivalahala. We understand what we understand, never more or less.

Return to Floating City. Tasks accomplished. Training will begin.

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