The scout ran up to Adjutant Meriott and handed him a piece of paper. Opening it he read the message and set off to find Major Cullens at a swift pace. Upon finding them the Adjutant snapped to attention and began to speak.
Merriott -- "Apparently someone has used my new semaphore system to send a message to Flint and we received a reply"
Cullens -- "What message was sent?"
Merriott -- "Leyton Secured, Orders?"
Cullens -- "And what was the reply?"
Merriott -- "Stay and Secure, U.K. I guess the U.K. is for Urfexa, I suppose she likes the new system I had built, what to send messages herself, quite a useful thing. I can't wait until...."
Cullens -- "Stay focused Adjutant. It's more likely the signal team in Flint translated the order into something that could fit onto the flags. Very well then, find me Brandis and the acting heads of the Guilds. Also fetch the leaders of Leyton, Aki and Ucheoma Olamide especially, I know they are resting from their harrowing experience so if needed we can go to them. It's time to make some plans."
Cullens -- "I do have one question though... who sent the 'Leyton Secured' message in the first place?"
Merriott -- "......I will have to get back to you on that."
27th: It has been a hard few days since we left the Levantra Pass
and descended into Leyton. We had expected to meet up with Major Cullens in the pass but clearly something had not gone well. Brandis led the caravan in, uneasy with entering at night but far too concerned about getting everyone to safety to let that bother them.
Just after we crossed the bridge we came upon the Major fighting off some strange creatures that we would come to know as Ahool
. A mixture of bat and monkey features, possibly related to a much smaller cousin animal from Teyen, these vicious ahool came in wave upon wave. Most of us, myself included, were dealt grievous injuries and a fighting retreat to the nearest buildings was all we could manage.
After my arm was bandaged and stitched up from the nasty bite I received I was able to see what had happened. In our haste we had to leave the wagons behind. Brandis, himself still recovering from a nasty gash to his chest, gathered those strong arms still able to move and set out to retrieve the nearest of the wagons. The pack animals having gone missing in the chaos, these strong folks grabbed onto the yoke and pulled with all their might rescuing valuable supplies critical for our survival. Several more trips like this were undertaken through the night and the final wagon was rescued in the morning after being pulled from some quicksand.
By the light of day it seemed that things were still very much bad in Leyton. The homesteaders were all missing, leaving uneaten food lying on plates. There appeared to be no sign of a struggle, no hurried defense of the area, no blood, no combat. Weapons caches were still locked up. The wellstones were also still secured. The mine had apparently collapsed and there was some speculation that perhaps the missing homesteaders were trapped inside… but why would they all have gone and without supplies? The ahool were scary, but the homesteaders should have been able to handle it, or would have left a trace of having done so. It was all very peculiar.
And then there was the discovery of the device
. This strange, alien, creepy looking, scary… thing. The Major said that it was there when they arrived. Members of the caravan had found journals indicating that the Leyton homesteaders were doing something with the device. Apparently they had found it in the mine after breaking through to an old mine shaft that predated their own underground explorations. They brought it out, set it up, and activated it, possibly accidentally, using wellstones. Of course we did not know all of this information before the caravan surgeon, Dr. Helena, also activated the thing and got pulled into some kind of alternate space.
Since having arrived in Leyton we had been seeing spirits roaming, incorporeal, non-reactive, spirits. Dr. Helena had now become one of those as well. For a time she could still talk to us, but as time passed she seemed more confused and was less able to interact. It is not entirely clear how the decision was reached; but a decision was made: we would have to power up the device and figure out how to retrieve those trapped by its previous activations. Albrecht executed some repairs, others provided wellstones they had found, polished, or charged, and a plan was formed.
The portal was opened and we could freely cross over into a strange, confusing, world. Memories of our world started to fade as soon as we crossed in, but our plan held, and our lines of communication worked. We managed to rescue every last resident of Leyton that was trapped in the space. But the space fought back. Evidently its very existence had been powered by the essence of those trapped inside and as we rescued each individual the space tried to fight back. The confusion and fear grew and it got harder and harder to find more souls to save. At last we verified the count of those from Leyton and those who went in to rescue them and found that only one was not at the exit. Bajiho had ranged far and wide in the space, protected in part by his ancestors and in part by his own force of will. He witnessed the end of the space and as the portal closed he fought his way through the diminishing opening, the last one to ever see that confusing space.
The people of Leyton, after a few hours, started to question who we all were and where we had come from. They all seemed to have lost their recent memories, no big surprise given how long they were trapped in that other space. But the loss of time for them was the most confusing. They had activated the device nearly 3 months past but to each of them it felt like only a couple of days had passed. Most of them were exhausted and simply went to their home to rest. Some looked after their businesses and discovered that much had been requisitioned by us to secure the homestead. The bureaucrats are going to have a heck of a time setting accounts to rights, but sometimes actions cannot wait for proper authorization before they must be taken. In the end I believe that all will be settled. Dr. Helena seems to be largely unaffected by her time in the other space, but many of those in Leyton did not fare so well.
29th: It was decided this morning that a caravan of wounded will return to Flint taking those from Leyton who are so confused as to be a harm or hindrance to the proper rebuilding of things. Aki and Ucheoma Olamide will stay and be tended to here as the chartered heads of Leyton. Though their condition is extreme it is believed that they will recover with bed rest and expert ministrations. A few of the military folks escorted the two wagons out up through the pass and into the relative safety of the protective mountain range around Flint. After a few days they would stop in Bayside and be relieved of their escort role and return to Leyton.
1st: The soldiers returned today with confirmed orders to stay, secure, and rebuild Leyton. Thus we begin the arduous task of reestablishing the colony’s foothold outside the protection of the Cadmar Mountains. While some of the livestock has been resecured, military patrols will have to be sent out along with the Explorer’s Guild and any locals well enough to travel to track down as many missing sheep and pigs as possible.
Much of the herbal stores of Leyton have been exhausted in the recent days, making even more work for the Crafters and Medicus Guilds. Also, the continued treatment of the locals who are not returning to Flint will take some time.
The Ritualists were able to secure the buildings with basic protections, however more extensive protections will need to be put in place designed for the longer term protection of the homestead.
With the mine reopened and wellstones again available, we will need to begin working with the Acquisitions Guild to ensure the safety of that most precious commodity and their transportation from Leyton to Flint.
And looming over all of this is the Device. Who built it? What magic and technology was used to make it? And most importantly, what is its true purpose? Fortunately, the military scouts also returned with news that Flint is dispatching Explorers Guildleader Virgil Ambrose and several other ritualists who will join Guildleader Leila Shin in helping to study the Device in the coming months.