Remove these ads. Join the Worldbuilders Guild
Tue 24th Jan 2023 05:05

Session 11, Feldspar and Centipedes

by Temerity

It’s been a busy few days. Well, really, it hasn’t been a busy few days. After defeating the demon Fangclaw (offscreen) and freeing Eowyn from the possession, we each took some time to ourselves for a few days while Eowyn recovers. So, I found a tree in the middle of Etonia. One of the ones that most likely predated the village. You can tell which trees are new, as they are planted in neat rows to align with the streets. Occasionally, however, the streets and buildings curve out of their normal alignment to accommodate a tree that was here prior to the construction of the city. There I saw it, an old growth tree… right in the middle of Etonia. The tree isn’t particularly tall, but it caught the sunlight and the wind in such a way as to highlight a flower at the base of the tree. It’s as if the shade of the tree was black and white, like you were seeing it in Darkvision, except the flower caught the sunlight in full color. The tree was flowering, a little bit out of season.
I sat beneath the tree and reminisced for a while. The tree reminded me of another tree, one in Augustin Citadel. I had just received an animal message from Thornwill (you remember my mentor, right? I’ve talked about him quite a bit), and I sat underneath that tree in Augustin Citadel thinking through my options. He had proposed that I come out for the summer to apprentice with him. Many thoughts were swirling through my head. How could I afford to leave the Court? Would my father permit it? My father always confiscated my wages. I would have to figure out how to hide some gold from him in order to fund the trip. I wasn’t even sure where Thornwill lived. How much would it cost to travel there? What supplies would I need to take? All I owned was a dress and some common work clothing. Nothing proper for an excursion into the forest to apprentice. With my mind racing, I started to allow what should have been a joyous moment, an offer to apprentice which could enable me to leave this life of servitude… to become a moment of despair. In that moment, I believed the obstacles were too great to overcome. I know, things have worked out; but on that day, I couldn’t see how they possibly would.
I visited this tree (in Etonia) several times during the course of a week. I rarely saw Will and Vardai those several days. I did spend some time with Julia, showing her around and sharing a few meals together. Eowyn, of course, was recovering at the Library. Will kept promising we would make Moonshine mixed with Goodberries and enjoy it together, but he seemed to be hard to find. In addition, I had been practicing my spells and cantrips, trying to become more useful to my party. I really do think my ties to nature are becoming stronger, because I can prepare more spells. I even learned a new cantrip: Thorn Whip! Yes, I know, I haven’t mastered Druidcraft yet… maybe someday I will.
I also frequented an herbalism shop, Miss Maggie's Herbs: For Healing and Living. As the seasons change and shipments arrive into Etonia, sometimes she gets some new items. A basic Herbalism kit typically has items for collecting herbs, such as pouches and jars, and a grinding stone such as a mortar and pestle (Xanathar’s Guide). I’ve been stocking mine with whatever herbs I can find. When I collected holly on my last trek, I placed some in my herbalism kit. I also have some spearmint and garlic. I was able to find some witch hazel from this store after Maggie received her last shipment. With the proper ingredients, and some time, I can craft some basic healing potions and poisons or anti-toxins. Although I haven’t really tried to craft anything since Thornwill taught me the basics. It’s really too bad I can’t brew moonshine with an herbalism kit.
One my last visit to Maggie’s, some boys, one named Junuh and one named Gorn, visited the shop. They were asking about Basalt. Basalt is a volcanic rock, very common in these lands. Although volcanoes are not common around here now, there were probably more volcanoes centuries ago, long before the times of even the oldest of Elves. Apparently, basalt is one of the ingredients in some of the construction masonry around Etonia. If mixed properly, it gives the bricks some magical properties. Up until this point, I wasn’t really listening, but she had me at “magical”. An older lady whom the boys call Grandma Willow walked into the room with Ms. Maggie to do a demonstration. She talked about feldspar, which the boys both knew was a plentiful mineral. She explained that feldspar was mixed in with the basalt into the bricks. Grandma Willow focused on the bricks, causing them to glow. As we all watched in amazement, Grandma Willow then said that moonstone is a crystallized form of feldspar (I think I knew that, ok, maybe I didn’t), and she activated the moonstone crystals in the feldspar in the bricks. A magical hole opened in the bricks, causing the object to fall through the table. (This story and Miss Maggie's Herbs: For Healing and Living from a short story on World Anvil called Charlinorite, by George Sanders, Soon after, I returned to the tavern, having learned something. But, I forgot to pick up more herbs on this visit.
Back to the present, Julia, Vardai and I enter the temple to check on Eowyn’s progress. We aren’t sure where Will is. Fortunately, Eowyn is feeling better. She does, however, look different. It is hard to describe, but the possession put her body through physical transformations. Her tail is different (still trying to figure out how an elf has a tail), and she is taller… almost as tall as Vardai. I used to be taller than her, but no more. After talking about how Eowyn has learned to play the lute recently, she conveys that she has signed us up for a mission. She will explain more after we gather Will. One thing I notice is that when we are walking through the corridors and hallways of the temple, when Vardai gets close to the brickwork, it glows. Two implications here. First, the brick in the temple are definitely made of basalt and feldspar. And second, Vardai’s presence is some sort of magical conduit to activate the moonstone within. I suppose if Vardai focused hard enough, she could activate passages in the brickwork.
Lazarus, a Paladin of the Temple, informs us that Will is in jail. Great! We head to the Constable’s office and ask to see the prisoner. The Constable, named Harem H. Wilson, says that Will was drunk and got in a fight. It makes sense that Will was drunk, because he can’t handle much alcohol. The Constable lets us in, and I scold Will, “You got drunk without me! You were supposed to help me with the moonshine goodberry mix!” Will looks like crap right now. I go back to the Constable and ask him to release Will. He stammers and delays, until I ask, “There’s a bail, isn’t there?” That gets the Constable’s attention, obviously he wants a bribe but is afraid to do so with Lazarus, a Paladin, in sight. After it becomes clear to the Constable that a bribe will become obvious and I start to namedrop some members of the Court, he lets Will go into my custody. Aside from the Constable’s obvious attempts to extract a bribe, we get away with a Will that is worse for the wear and no bribes paid. My courtier training, and the intimidation of a Paladin, paid off, even if the Paladin didn’t exactly see what was happening.
Walking back to the temple, Will says that he started the brawl because someone mouthed off at him. I tell him to get his act together, because we have an adventure to go on. Having returned, the High Priest explains that he needs us to investigate some ruins near a grove. There’s an underground settlement of Myconids, mushroom-like plant creatures, that has been having issues with undead. Uck! I hate undead. Why can’t they just stay dead? Anyway, the colony was placed there by a druid named Sophie. Will seemed to glimmer some recognition off of that name, but that really wasn’t that important. The Myconids might have some information about enslaved prisoners. We are offered 50 gold each. I’m in it for the adventure though (and to redead the undead).
Julia asks the High Priest more about the prisoners. They are rumored to be spellcaster. Another group of adventurers had freed some of the prisoners. Those adventures noted that they were ambushed by cultists and grell, a type of Aberration. This adventure is sounding more adventuresome by the minute.
Eowyn asks for some time to visit her daughter before we depart. Once again, Will fails to show at the tavern for dinner and drinks. The next morning, he looks like excrement. Eowyn presses him, and he confesses. “There is unrest down South where I am from. A good friend of mine from childhood, Ecathin, married into the royal family. I had heard rumors of princes and princesses being killed, some sort of coup. I don’t know if my friend is safe. I’ve been awaiting news of my family for some time.” I remind Will that we are here to lean on, rather than him getting drunk and in fights.
As we get ready to depart via a teleportation circle, I give Eowyn the necklace of prayer beads. She will most likely make better use of it than I have. A few gut wrenching moments later, and we are in the Myconid cavern.
We start talking to the Myconids. I try Sylvan and they understand that language in addition to Common. Eowyn explains their language is more telepathic and we hear in whatever language we know and want to hear it in. The colony mines and produces a universal spell component, which is particularly useful in necromancy spells. As I’ve said before, necromancy spells are terrible and should be banned. Except for Revivify, which I will be able to cast soon. I ask the Myconids, “So, there's a universal spell component particularly useful for necromancy spells and undead are constantly attacking?”
The other party members talk about Sophie and some place call Thorngage Manor. I tune out the conversation because it really isn’t that important. We investigate the storerooms and look at the universal spell components. I pick up enough of the components to be able to cast Revivify if and when I can master that spell. We get directions to where the prisoners are, and Eowyn inspires us as we set out on the next phase of the journey.
The path takes us into some treacherous caverns. We come to a fast-moving stream with treacherous footing that is too wide to use Ember to Fiery Teleport us across. Eowyn teleports across on her own; I am unsure how she does it. Eowyn throws a rope back, which Julia ties off with a piton. Will goes next and falls. Because he is already halfway across, Ember teleports him the rest of the way. Vardai crosses and makes it look easy. I go next. This is easy… no issues… crap! I fall. Ember teleports me the rest of the way. Now I am soaked. My hair is a mess and not proper! Such is the life of an adventurer! Julia comes across easily.
I notice Vardai is making the cavern walls glow. There must be feldspar in the cavern. I explain to the party what I recently learned about geology and magic components.
We come to an area of ruined structures in a more open part of the cavern. We find a jewelry pin, which Eowyn identifies as a house insignia that can be attuned to cast the spell Blur. She believes the ruins are from an ancient Zugheel civiliation, complete with a constructed canal.
Just then, centipedes attack. I think there are seven of them, and they are of unusual size. Two grell also attack. The grell look like floating brains with beaks and tentacles. As a centipede hits me, I get off a Hellish Rebuke and sizzle it. I am separated from the rest of the party as a grell hits me hard (ouch!) and grapples me. Will and Julia both get off arrows and kill more centipedes.
Did I mention I was grappled? Well, no problem. I call Ember and he teleports me out of the grapple. We are holding our own, barely, when Will gets hit hard and Eowyn gets dragged off by a grell. While Vardai is holding her own against a grell and several centipedes, I can’t hit anything with my Thorn Whip. Crap! Eowyn is in trouble… let’s break out the big guns… Scorching Ray! Hey, it actually hits, and does good damage. Ember teleports Eowyn out of the grell’s embrace, and Eowyn promptly heals me with some magic. In what was a very tough fight, we prevail as Julia defeats one grell with her psychic blades, and I kill the remaining one which is fleeing with an Ice Knife spell. Wow! We sit down to recover and rest as we wipe off centipede parts and Eowyn plays on her lute.

  • Thank you to George Sanders, his Anhult Campaign, and World Anvil.