A.K.A. Traditional Frying Pan, Progressive Fire
A.K.A. It’s the Ways of the World and you know it…
There was still this little problem of the Blackscour taint. A few of us had talked to Lord Eridan and he promised the use of a fully stocked laboratory to perform research and we had a copy of Rhodri’s notes from the last time the Blackscour was cured. Those notes were a little confusing but we figured with a little experimentation we could figure something out.
So off we were to try to cook the cure.
We had all of the ingredients needed from various locations but some were not as fresh as others. Still, we had some time and equipment so we went to work.
There were several variables and we weren’t sure of the amount of some of the ingredients, so we decided that we’d do several various mixtures concurrently to see what variables were most important. Morrick did most of the cooking since he seemed to have the best skill in Medicine but we all pitched in.
Morrick was very precise on the first batch, managing to determine what some of the key points were. We even had a semi-viable (but inconsistent) cure on the first batch.
One thing we determined was that the mushrooms weren’t fresh and that had a big impact on potency. The mushrooms, found underground, were only good for a couple days, so we’d have to head toward the mountains and the dwarven holds.
As we were preparing to leave we came across a sight in the market. A mage was yelling crazy things and randomly casting spells! At first it seemed harmless until he cast a couple powerful evocations. I tried charming him and reading his mind, but neither yielded any results.
Finally we decided to let the barbarian just tackle the mage, and that worked well. He was quickly restrained and moved to a secure location. Seems that he had contracted the madness that was said to be infecting mages in Keoland. But the Keolish Wizard school was miles away, so why was he here?
Talking to guards and townsfolk indicated he was the apprentice of a powerful mage who came from Keoland supposedly to study the Blackscour taint. Seeing as both Blackscour and this madness seemed to be Fey-based diseases we expected that he was probably really trying to find out about the madness disease.
We were told that the Wizard went south to do more research at the source. So south we went and found the town somewhat scorched. Apparently the Wizard had gone crazy and started casting spells everywhere and was eventually put down. The room he had rented had a lot of damage but we found some notes. Not much there and it seemed to get more confused as it went, becoming completely incomprehensible at the end.
Too bad, it would have been nice to have some additional research to help us out.
So it was off to the Dwarves and possibly the Isle of Rhun to get more information and gather some mushrooms.
Travel was fairly easy here and we made quick time toward the town of Groesffordd. But before arriving we came across Llannerch; a monastery now dedicated to Rao, a good of peace and tranquility. Though not one of the classic Old Faith gods, it was within the Gyri pantheon.
What we found was disturbing.
All of the monks that we found were dead. Slaughtered by weapons. The footprints and other evidence in the area revealed 20-25 horses and armored men. The number nearly exactly matched the guard of Caswallon and Lord Dryadson, who had just passed through the area. Seeing as they had just declared their independence from Gyruff and their rather extremist views, we definitely felt we knew who the murderers were. But this was in Rhwyng yr Coed, not Dryadson’s cantrev of Gwyrth Bryn.
In Groesffordd they knew nothing about the killings. They had seen Dryadson and Caswallon with their guards pass through, but they did not stop. We warned the town that Gwyrth Bryn had separated from Gyruff and was taking a very harsh stance. And being the settlement closest to that border they may face a very unfriendly neighbor.
We cautiously headed in the Gwyrth Bryn and soon came upon Trehalwyn. The town was walled with a wooden palisade and not very inviting.
They challenged us at the gate, asking what deeds we had performed that warranted entry into their town.
Naturally I gave them some half-truth about being on a pilgrimage to the Isle of Rhun to get in closer touch with the Old Faith. They bought it and eventually we all got in.
We had heard that there was a new priest of Pelor in town so thought that we might visit. There was also a wasting disease afflicting the town (the priest of Pelor had come to help with that). The town blamed this on all of the non-Flan that had come through the area on their way to the Isle of Rhun during various noble confirmations.
The disease seemed to be affecting mostly those that were of non-Flan origin or at least part-non-Flan.
Before we could look around or try to talk to anyone a large woman wearing furs came and asked us to follow her. She was apparently Caswallon’s daughter. She and some guards escorted us to the Breyr’s mansion and seated us at a table with Caswallon.
It seemed there was no choice in the matter.
Caswallon greeted us and we ate with him as he explained what he needed from us. He had heard that some magical Cauldron that had not been seen for 1000 years was now hidden in the Ways of the World. And we were going to go get it for him.
Hmmm, ok…last I’d heard the Ways of the World were the interdimensional travel paths that had been corrupted and were now inhabited by all sorts of nasty things. Not really in my comfort zone really.
But off we went to find some magic Cauldron for the crazy Druid.
As we stepped out of the magical portal into the Ways of the World things were much different than I’d heard. But then again, apparently the Ways can be different every time they are accessed. And with the corruption of the ways and various creatures within, they have changed even more.
We were on what appeared to be the top of a round tower that was buried to our level in snow and ice. The entire landscape seemed to be similarly covered and visibility was limited by a cold fog.
We hiked down the path with our Ranger keeping watch of where we were going. After a short while we came upon a widening. To one side was a gigantic skeleton, pinned to the mountainous wall with an equally gigantic spear. In the center of the area was a large ice block that showed a frozen battle scene. We also noted some human-sized skeletons near the block of ice, each seemingly killed by a bunch of small arrows.
Expecting trouble we spread out and approached cautiously.
Suddenly a large number of blue-skinned goblins jumped up out of the snow with shortbows in hand and the battle began.
We were quickly cutting down there number but there were a lot of them, and the small arrows were starting to take their toll. A couple of us had to back down the path to get cover in order to be less inviting targets.
We were able to overwhelm them eventually and even managed to capture their leader.
Upon interrogation we found that he was the “king” of the cold-type goblins that had moved into the Ways and were living here. They had a “magical” cookpot that they used that sounded suspiciously like the cauldron we were looking for. Since the “king” was sufficiently cowed, we decided that rather than fighting all of the rest of the goblins we’d use him as a hostage.
However, I don’t trust goblins as far as I can throw them (which isn’t very far even though they’re small) and I expected that as soon as we go to their base he would run away and tell his people to attack. So I came up with a clever bluff. I took my ink and pen and wrote a fancy-looking glyph on his neck. I told him that one word from me would make it explode, killing him.
He bought into it and was now terrified. He definitely wasn’t going to run off and tell his people to attack.
We followed him to their cavern lair and he commanded his people to bring out the cauldron. We quickly packaged it up in our portable hole and headed to the exit. Fortunately we were quick enough that the ways of the world had not changed and we could easily find our way back.
We were transported back, and presented the cauldron to Caswellon. He proceeded to do some mumbo-jumbo for a while (I think he was attuning to the magical cauldron) and then called forth for the people with the wasting disease.
The first was a young girl, barely breathing and too weak to approach on her own. She was a rare sight in this town; blond hair and blue eyes tagged her as more likely a Seloise.
Caswellon took her, and submerged in to the cauldron (that had heated water in it now). After an uncomfortably long time he re-emerged. The young girl seemed completely cured and in perfect health. She was also now brown-haired and clearly of Flan descent.
Not only did the cauldron cure any disease – including the recent spate of difficult to cure ailments – but it forced the cured to change race to Flan. This fed into Caswellon’s racist views and would give him further ability to sway people to his way.