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Old 07-05-2020, 12:41 PM   #9
Stomoxys
 
Join Date: Jun 2020
Default Day 172 since leaving The Homeland

It is now day 172 since we left The Homeland. I will try to keep a log each day, hoping that this report will reach The Homeland somehow someday.

I was woken in the morning by Grogg who informed me that Pakk and Gromann was there to discuss Nuur-Karif's condition. We had arranged this the day before, but I had forgotten with everything going on in the tower. Gromann had been awake all night studying and proposed an expedition to some ruins in the desert east of Arland. These ruins had been abandoned in a hurry and Gromann hoped they would contain Tivito secrets. They considered it to be too dangerous to open the Tivito chamber in the tower and got quite annoyed when they heard I had already done it. However, they calmed down when Grogg offered them the needle and Pakk carried them away.

Yana showed up with clothing they had made and they and Nuur-Karif started prattling about such things. I left to find Lunari, who was complaining about Nuur-Karif being unpredictable. To some extent I agreed with them, but it is irrelevant now. Trying to get access to the tower, we went looking for Isa, but were informed we were no longer welcome in the inner courtyard. Instead Lunari wrote a letter to Mir that we sent with Kra before Lunari, Grogg and Nujan went off to get high. Drugs seems to have been Lunari's coping mechanism when faced with things they did not understand and this seems to be quite common among the mammals. I studied Lunari's aura, but something strange happened. Instead of the usual short impression, they lit up up with a silver light and a smell of flowers and some kind of animal that Grogg said was a fox. The Fox is the mammal's name for the Slurping Toad, which was Lunari's star sign. Kra also appeared with something that looked like a rolled up paper slip, but it was clearly magical. Since we were not able to open it, Lunari put it in their pouch.

Returning to the Fortress, I found Yana and Nuur-Karif still in deep discussion, but the subject had changed and Yana was saying Nuur-Karif should come with them to the north were they belonged. This seemed very odd, so I decided to visit Krull again. To my surprise, Mir was in Krull's cell when I arrived. They would be heading off somewhere when the causeway appeared and sort of gave us permission to enter the locked tower and left the key to Krull's cell when they left. Yana's behaviour made much more sense after I talked to Krull. Gritt is able to control other mammals and would use them to get to The Night Mirror. Consequently, we should not leave Nuur-Karif alone and I rushed back to them. Nuur-Karif still appeared to be in control of themselves, so we agreed they would send off Yana while I got hold of Lunari and Grogg. In the evening, we would contact the Ashtarites in the city, hoping they could help. In hindsight, this was foolish. Without Ashtar's blessing, Nuur-Karif was just as irrational and unpredictable as any other mammal. Had it not been for Grogg's keen nose, we would probably not have realized that Nuur-Karif had brought Yana to their room and started mating. Yana was sent off and Lunari and Grogg pacified them with the needle.

We still wanted to investigate the tower and got hold of Pakk and Gromann with a bit of persuasion. While we were no longer welcome in the inner courtyard, it did not seem anyone were willing to force the issue. The guard at the entrance to the tower had not gotten instructions to let us in, but they did not stop us either, possibly because of Lunari's magical influence. On the way up, Pakk identified the symbols of two other cults, Kabal and Elik, over hallways leading off from the main staircase. The top chamber was more or less unchanged from the day before, except a drawer had been opened. Inside were what looked like rolled up paper slips, similar to the slip Kra had found earlier. Pakk was insistent that we not touch anything and Lunari was poorly hiding their guilt when Pakk pressed the issue. I did not bother to hide anything, Pakk appears much more dependable and is much larger than Lunari, but we were interrupted by a wail coming from downstairs. Nuur-Karif was sitting in the staircase, completely hysterical.

It was clear they had lost it completely and Nujan and I escorted them back to their room while Lunari and Grogg wanted to continue their exploration of the tower. I kept watch outside the main door, praying loudly to Ashtar to calm them down, while Nujan kept watch over the window. After a while, Nuur-Karif calmed down and wanted to borrow my writing kit to write a letter to Yana and entrusted me with their weapons and poisons. Having learned from my previous mistake, I insisted on reading the letter, but it only explained the situation and was not too emotional. Perhaps the information could make Yana more resistant to Gritt's influence. The situation was clearly untenable and I considered our options if the Ashtarites could not help. Presumably, the crown requires a living wearer to contain Gritt, but the Tivito in the crypt had appeared to be a dessicated corpse. Perhaps we could trick Nuur-Karif into a cell under the fortress and wall it up. I do not think a locked door would contain them for long.

Nuur-Karif came out of their room for dinner and we, Nuur-Karif, Nujan, and I, went downstairs. It was a muted affair, suddenly interrupted by a rotting branch hitting the window next to us. Outside, the courtyard was littered with broken branches that looked like they belonged in a swamp. A passing worker did not know where they had come from and speculated that it had been dumped by a storm, but there was no wind, so this did not make any sense. Thinking back on Krupik, I wondered if this could be the result of a magical accident. Nuur-Karif had initially been uninterested in the branches, but they came along when we pointed out that they seemed to have come from the inner courtyard. Before we could reach the gates to the inner courtyard, a howl of fury and pain that could only come Grogg split the air.

Reaching the inner courtyard, Mir and their soldiers were already there and ready for combat, rushing towards the tower when I told them Lunari and Grogg was there. The rest of us, as well as Ebsalon, followed on their heels. In the staircase we met Grogg, Pakk and Gromann and the trolls looked to be near death, especially Grogg, and Pakk proclaimed that Lunari was dead. Mir grabbed Gromann and continued up the stairs to the Kabal hallway were the gate had been forced open. Realizing the fight was over, Mir seemed almost disappointed and left Gromann and Ebsalon to deal with the fallout. They clearly did not intend to let a magical mishap delay them.

Ebsalon and Gromann intended to put a magical ward on the gate, containing whatever was inside. Before it was sealed off, I wanted to investigate a little and recover Lunari's corpse if possible. I sneaked in through the broken gate which was wide enough to let a troll through. The chamber was entirely of stone, with small windows in the ceiling that all had been broken. Splintered branches and twigs covered the floor as if some massive force had ripped through them. However, in the middle of the room was a copse of trees that appeared untouched and were clearly magical. At the far end of the room, I could see Lunari's corpse. While it was still in one piece, it had been badly trampled, with the chest collapsed in and the clothing more than anything else identifying it. Next to the corpse was a flock of clay birds that appeared to be eating from a lump of clay on the ground. It would not be possible to retrieve the corpse without the birds noticing and whatever was in the room had just defeated two trolls, so I decided to withdraw. After I got out, Ebsalon started a complicated magical ritual to place a ward on the room. I would have liked to stay and observe, but Ajaw was getting low on the horizon and we would have to get across the causeway. Nuur-Karif would not last long in their current state and loosing one companion in a day is more than enough. So far, I have let the mammals lead, as we are on their home turf. This will not do and I will have to assert a more rational leadership from now on.

Last edited by Stomoxys; 07-09-2020 at 10:34 AM.
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