6th of Acrylis, 4927 (continued)
The Freed Ones, a name Temari had stuck onto the beings blue-eyed
humanoids they had found awaiting them above ground, had all but
finished moving into the ruined city. The group found themselves being
treated as some sort of demigods.
The hunting lessons Conlae had imparted appeared to have had some
value to them. One of the Freed Ones approached Conlae with a dead bird with
"something unedible" attached to its leg. He handed Conlae a piece of paper.
Conlae eyed the piece of paper with interest and then pronounced it was
a nice piece of paper. Temari winced inwardly at such ignorance. He
couldn't even read!
Temari tried to ask the Freed One to refrain from shooting doing
messenger birds, but as he pointed out, there was no way to tell the
difference to ordinary birds. Ah well, there was little more she could
do about that. She read the message the bird had been carrying. It was a
cry for help from a city called Eastpire -- apparently, a dam had
bursted and they urgently requested the assistance of mages.
When Temari informed the others of this, only Conlae's reaction was
as she had expected. Caitlin freaked out at the mention of trouble in
Eastpire, worry flooding over the diminutive creature. Urdos almost spat
at Temari's feet at the mere mention of mages. When Temari, shocked to see so
vehement a reaction to her chosen profession, politely asked what was
wrong with mages, Yriryn in his calm voice told her that mages were no
good for anything. Neither of them had the grace to exclude present
When Temari pointed out that she had ill-deserved such words, neither
seemed inclined to agree with her. To comound her confusion, Caitlin
gripped her arm strongly and told her that if she was a mage, she must
go to help Caitlin's birthtown and her parents and old friends. With
some prodding, Caitling informed the rest that Eastspire was founded
near an evergrowing lake. For some reason it only grew, never lessened.
To prevent the water from flooding the city, an enormous dam had been
built far upriver, to lessen the inflow of water.
Urdos' opinion, which he voiced loudly, was that the people
themselves were to blame for remaining so close near certain disaster.
In his opinion, the town should just pick up and move. Caitlin tried to
explain that the city was too big for this, and that the dam had stood
for many years, so this was not a temporary solution and that the people
did deserve help. Yriryn nor Temari could point out fault with Urdos'
When Temari asked what she thought that their little group could do
to timely aid a big city so far away, Caitlin pointed out she was a
mage. "Well, not precisely," muttered Temari to herself, "but the next
best thing." In the end, it was determined that if the drawing on the wall
had been a map, then travelling towards Eastpire could bring the group
close to one of the locations marked by a star. This was enough to
convince Urdos, and since the others had voiced few objections or
interests elsewhere, it was decided that they would travel towards
Eastpire on the morrow.
22nd of Acrylis, 4927
After many days of travelling -- first through the desert, roughly by
the way Temari had come (more to save Urdos a week of desert than that
it matched their heading), and later through plains and grasslands on
the outskirts of the desert, and finally through forested areas and
swamps -- the group had found a rhythm to sustain the daily travels.
Urdos would call on his snowy white bears every other hour, and Temari
had to walk on herself, as there were not enough mounts. Late in the
afternoon, Conlae spotted a column of smoke rising above the trees.
Upon inspection, the band found the smoking remains of a forest
hamlet. There were few survivors left. One of them explained that they
had gone into the forest to gather wood. They raced back when they saw
the smoke. The entire village was ablaze, and there was nothing they
The mood in the group changed. It was apparent that everyone had
taken offense at the gruesome sight. However, there was little that
could be done about it -- no tracks to find, no leads to follow, only
the anger at the rampant destruction of life.
28nd of Acrylis, 4927
It had been a week since the horrible sight of the destroyed village.
As Caitlin was also burdened by worries over Eastpire, there was not
even her eternal optimism to lift the spirits of the party. Temari felt
clearly that something had to happen soon.
At that moment, the trap was sprung. The group found themselves
ambushed. Among the enemies were spellcasters. Dangerous though they
were, little good it did them. Conlae roared with fury, Yriryn calmly
stepped into the midst of the fray, Caitlin danced around the edges,
scoring a hit everywhere it was not expected. Then the battle became to
convoluted for Temari to concentrate on the others, and she and Tasurn
turned their attention to a nearby spellcaster.
After a short, brutal battle, Temari found some of the oppressive
mood left by the smoldering remains of a peaceful village had lifted.
She methodically checked one spellcaster for his spell components,
determined to find out what magics this group had wielded. None of the
components provided any clues to her, which left her baffled for a
while. She searched the body for other components, but only found a
piece of paper -- the same message from Eastpire.