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Old 07-05-2020, 11:55 AM   #10
Join Date: Jun 2020
Default Day 172 since leaving The Homeland

Grogg was in no condition to go anywhere, but Nujan joined Nuur-Karif and me and we headed to the causeway. Soon after we had crossed, Mir and their company crossed and rode off, presumably to some military campaign against the Larma. We were planning to head to the Ashtarite chapel, but a priest of Ashtar was waiting for us when we reached the mainland and signalled for me to approach alone. They had received instructions from Ashtar that they should now be wearing the crown. Despite being fully aware of the consequences, they were willing to accept this sacrifice, but begged us to send 'them' where 'they' needed to go. It was clear that they meant Krull and that Krull needed to get to the Night Mirror. They did not want to say this in the presence of Nuur-Karif and the crown and I hope I have not accidentally revealed information to Gritt they did not know beforehand. In a short ceremony on the dockside, Nuur-Karif knelt and the priest snatched the crown and placed it on their own head, before walking away. They had promised to contain Gritt as long as possible, but we have to do our part.

On our way back to the fortress, Nuur-Karif told me what Pakk had told them about what happened to Lunari. They had been exploring the Kabal chamber, which had been completely overgrown with trees. Being much smaller than the trolls, Lunari had explored ahead on their own while Grogg and Pakk was waiting outside the trees. They had grown increasingly concerned as they heard strange thumping sounds from the trees, despite Lunari's assurances that everything was fine. Having made their way along an overgrown path and looping around statues in the correct order, the inner trees opened themselves in time to see Lunari running away from a moving clay statue. While the passage had been about to close itself up, the branches spread themselves for the statue, even when Lunari tried to close the passage with magic. Despite failing the first time, Lunari tried to close the passage again among the outer trees that seemed to not be enchanted. Pakk claimed that this had triggered a trap, but to me it sounds more like a Krupik incident. Either way, the whole copse had exploded with branches and twigs flying everywhere. Even worse, the two statues in the outer forest started making sounds and came to life.

Pakk insisted that Lunari had fought to the end, but they were very vague on details from this point on. Possibly, Lunari was knocked out or killed outright by the explosion. The trolls had fought against the statues who seemed especially focused on getting to Lunari. While a fully armed and armoured Grogg could probably have dealt with the statues on their own, both Grogg and Pakk were unarmed and they were fighting a loosing battle. All three might very well have perished if Gromann had not shown up. Together, Pakk and Gromann were able to force open the gate while Grogg fought the statues and felled one. Initially, Grogg refused to leave Lunari behind, but when the light from my spell went out it was clear the elf was dead, making Grogg scream out. Fighting their way out, the statues had not followed them out of the room, but apparently retreated into the magical copse.

Returning to The Evening Fortress, we went straight to the chapel which Nuur-Karif could now enter and was greeted by the great snake. I told them what the priest had told me and we planned how to proceed. We clearly had to release Krull, but Nuur-Karif first wanted to check on Yana in case they were still under the influence of Gritt. When we approached Yana's workshop, we could hear them banging on their door and screaming that they had to leave together with Nuur-Karif. Lunari had locked them in, but the needle had been removed, presumably by Kra. Nuur-Karif attempted to calm down Yana and seemed to succeed, so I checked on Grogg. They seemed very upset and had not noticed that Kra was there with the needle, but took it and stung Pakk with it when I reminded them. I also had time to take a look at the stars, and I got the impression a lead star would appear.

I found Nuur-Karif and Yana holding hands in the courtyard. This is considered a sign of affection among the mammals and I found it a bit disturbing, considering that Gritt had just used Yana to influence Nuur-Karif. While Nuur-Karif should be more reptilian again now that Ashtar/Ssuxxakan have accepted them back, I will be much more careful with trusting their judgement for the foreseeable future. In this case it turned out to be lucky that Yana was there. Lunas had asked them to prepare a disguise and travel kit for Krull, which should be useful for them. It would be preferable if we could get permission from an Aldera before releasing Krull, so we sent Nujan to contact Isa. Unfortunately, they refused to talk to us and we had to sneak Krull out. This turned out to be quite easy. Nuur-Karif and Yana distracted the guards with promises of mating, while Nujan and I smuggled Krull to the secret boat. The guards should have been demoted to ape killers. The only locked door on the way was easily picked open. Mammals put too much faith in their locks and Nujan mentioned they had not learned to pick locks because it would make breaking in too easy. When saying goodbye to Krull, they told us that the father of Isa is a Larma and for this reason, the Larma thinks they own them. Isa's mother, Varja, was what they called a king's mate, which apparently means something important to the mammals and this further infuriated the Larma. None of this makes any sense, but Krull claimed there was a prophecy that meant Isa had to be kept on The Evening Fortress and nobody could arrive by boat. They seemed very concerned when I told them we had both traveled with Isa and arrived by boat. Whatever the prophecy says, I doubt it is worth crippling Isa like they are doing. When we were walking back, a lead star had appeared right above the fortress.

Last edited by Stomoxys; 04-22-2021 at 11:50 AM.
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