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Tue 29th Nov 2022 04:27

Session 9, Into the Lair (of Emotions)

by Temerity

Eowyn is crying. As I told you last time, Eowyn became possessed by the demon whom I later found out is named Fangclaw. Eowyn had warned us about Fangclaw; but up until this point, Fanglaw hadn’t been a problem. After observing this possession, I now started to realize Fangclaw had possessed Eowyn back in Montsilt for a time. I guess I didn’t associate Eowyn’s physical changes as a manifestation of the possession.
Eowyn is crying and rummaging through her pack, desperately trying to find something. Minutes earlier, the terror that was the demon had possessed Eowyn for many hours. The possession was disturbing… as if Fangclaw was just on the edge of going berserk and killing with joy, but still in control. We ask Eowyn if she needs help, but she ignores us.
Vardai steps in. Vardai pulls out a vial and offers it to Eowyn. Eowyn downs the vial, and almost immediately stops crying. The change is profound. Eowyn becomes different than I have ever seen her. No emotions. Cold, pure intellect. As if she is studying herself as an academic curiosity. Early, I was worried that Eowyn would lose herself to the demon… now we have Eowyn back and she is no longer herself. As with many things Eowyn, I am not sure if that is good or bad.
The vial was a potion of Calm Emotions, a spell I am unable to tap. If I had the ability to cast that spell, Calm Emotions, I’m not sure I would want to. In the span of minutes… possessed Eowyn, distraught Eowyn, and now detached Eowyn. Maybe I need another drink.
Up until this point, Will had been fiddling with his pendant. I never really noticed it before, but he keeps a pendant tucked inside his shirt. Occasionally he just stares at it. Wow, I need to get more perceptive. I hadn’t realized how much Will fidgeted with his pendant, I completely missed that Vardai was even carrying a potion for Eowyn, and I hadn’t realized how dangerous the demon Fangclaw had become until just today. I like to consider myself reasonably wise, but am I so immature that I fail to notice what is important with my companions?
Will brings me out of my contemplation. “There’s a demon inside of you,” he states, obviously, to Eowyn.
Coldly, she responds. She narrates all that has occurred with the demon and how the demon is named Fangclaw. How she came to be possessed while exploring near Mirsasoon. It is as she is talking about someone else, no sorrow, no excitement, no empathy, just facts. She continues. “Fangclaw is bound by a seal. He can’t harm you so long as you do not threaten her or tell her to harm herself.”
When we were in Etonia, Eowyn had an opportunity to have the demon exorcised. She passed, either not ready to face the challenge herself or not wishing to potentially harm her companions. Perhaps she didn’t trust our support. Quoting, “Elven procrastination can last decades,” referring to the exceptionally long lives elves can live as Eowyn justifies her reluctance. This last bout of possession, though, seems to have broken that procrastination. Eowyn wishes to return to Etonia soonest to have the ritual performed. “No one should ever have to see their parents die over and over again,” leading me to believe, while possessed, Eowyn goes into a realm of nightmares.
Your right, I’ve talked for quite a bit, and we are barely into the story. I’m depressed and in need of a Calm Emotions spell (no… actually I’m not… save your magic). So… let’s get back to the plot.
A few years ago, a few Etonian sages went missing during expeditions. Ranon the Bard insisted the expeditions stop until the missing could be accounted for. Devon, a prominent member, then went missing. The Etonia council took no action, and excused Devon’s absence as self-imposed exile. Eowyn, narrating this story, explained how uncharacteristic it was of the council to take no action. Particularly, in contract, how the council seems to have overreacted to the recent goblin events, raising regiments of soldiers to scour the landside for goblins. Eowyn, in reflection, believes the necromancer that we currently seeks might have been a missing member of the council. As we are so near the goblin stronghold, Eowyn dispassionately recommends we finish what we started with escorting Zez to claim leadership of the goblin tribe before returning to Etonia to exorcise the demon.
Zez leads us into the goblin lair (wow… lair sounds like such an ominous term). Ok, how about camp? Well, now that I can see it, cave is a more accurate description. At the perimeter, Zez stops. He says he is concerned that there are no sentries, and there should be sentries.
Will casts Speak with Animals. He talks to a Cardinal. They chirp at each other for a bit, and then Will translates. “No goblins, just round leg thing, two legs, being pulled by big four-legged things.” Someone, that equates to a horse pulling a cart, possibly the people we encountered earlier. I summon Ember, my wildfire spirit, so that we can teleport over a crevasse.
Then, wow, did she just do that? Eowyn cast a spell. Unlike my spells, or any I’ve seen up close. Eowyn weaves her storytelling into the spell and inspires Will in some manner. It’s clearly not linked to any emotions, as Eowyn is still dispassionate.
Zez points out traps and pits as we continue into the cave. After it opens back up, we finds an area of trash, refuse, and used gear… most broken. There appears to be a trashed armory here.
Zezx says ahead is Black Grub’s (the bugbear usurper… *****reference) and the “Door You Don’t Open” room. Quickly, Zez realizes that the “Door You Don’t Open” is open. We investigate and find broken chains secured to walls and scatter bones across the floor. Eowyn explains that the room was probably carved by magical means. We find bookcases with tomes related to spellcasting and magic. I look for any books on necromancy so that I can burn them, but I don’t see any.
As we advance, Will spots a prisoner through a secret door. She’s a human female. Maybe slightly taller than me wearing leather armor. She’s caged. She is defiant as she banters with the captors, who are within voice distance but remain out of our sight. “Let me out of here, you embeciles!”
As I enter the area, Ember disappears! Crap! We must be in an anti-magic field. The human captive continues shouting, “Are you planning to vivisect me? Then you can trust me!” OK, that makes no sense. I wouldn’t trust someone I was planning to vivisect. I’m not sure her argument is the strongest.
Will picks the lock. Then the guards spot us. Swords are coming out as I think of a plan. I shout out, “Halt! This human is a criminal we have been commissioned to hunt down and return to Augustin Citadel. Under the authority of the Lord of Augustin Citadel!”
The guards seemed stunned. They might actually believe me. At first, they protested, telling me that Augustin Citadel needs to stay out of their business. Based on the way they said that, it is as if they had some inside agreement with the powers that govern Augustin Citadel… maybe they are cultists. I continued, telling them they would be rewarded with a bounty. I just needed to draw up the paperwork.
Now the rest of the party starts playing along. We get some parchment. I write some gibberish in Elvish on the Parchment, knowing that Eowyn can read it. After some back and forth, they release the prisoner “Julia” to us. After we depart the area, Eowyn, who is looking a little different, tells me that the signature on thee parchment definitely matched some cultists.
We leave the “Door You Don’t Open” area and return to the armory. We had given Julia the Moon-touched sword we had been carrying. I scrounge through the rubble and find a perfect arrow for Julia. Then we explore the Back Grub Throne Room. The place is trashed. Searching the place, we find a royal dagger and give it to Zez.
As we continue searching, we find a tunnel which leads to an open area. We hear a low voice demanding, “Kneel and submit”, as we stumble onto some sort of ceremony led by a very large goblin.
Zez walks out and states his claim as the #1 gobin. They respond by… attacking.
Julia and Will immediately start unleashing arrows. Vardai races in as the goblins starts overwhelming Zez and Vardai. Well, I’m not sure they are overwhelming Vardai, but they are trying.
Eowyn casts a spell. She covers a goblin with some sort of radiant light. I cast produce flame and throw it at a goblin and… miss.
Vardai and Zez are fulling engaged now. Although Zez is in trouble. As Will is flinging arrows as fast as he can, Julia pulls out her sword and weighs into the melee. One of the goblins, whom Zez said is Brun, starts fighting on our side. As Zez is in trouble, I use Ember to teleport him out of the immediate danger area. Vardai cleaves a goblin in half and starts attacking the big goblin.
Eowyn continues casting spells. She is still dispassionate, showing none of the emotions of the battle. She casts a spell I recognize, Healing Word. Cool! I’m not the only person in the party that can heal. After a few more seconds, we have brought the big goblin cursing… he tries to cast a spell to persuade Vardai over to his side, and it fails. He starts running away. We chase, and realize he fled to the room with the cultists in it. I guess we are going to have to fight the cultists after all.