The Eilythry World
Week 5, The search continues...
Having re-united the party, we set off in search of the diadem piece once more. First, we decided to move the pantope doors out of the castle. Our first such effort left us with a door flat on the ground, facing UP. Tom thoughtfully asked that the door disguise itself as grass, but it turned out that there hadn't been any grass there before. We found this out when some locals came by and looked puzzled at our grassy door. They were even more puzzled when they couldn't pull up the grass or dig down. Eventually, we puzzled them worse by turning off the door and trying again elsewhere.
"Elsewhere" turned out to be under the table in a large tent. We had already guessed that we were connecting to a place somewhere near a tourney field, so we weren't too surprised. Nor were we pleased. A third try got us the outside of an outhouse near a large manor. A little fiddling got us the INSIDE of the outhouse. Undignified, but inconspicuous.
We waited a few days, to finish healing from out last adventure, and to plan some costumes for this one. We are trying a minor variation on the old casting:
Cantrel steals out of the time-traveling outhouse one night and cases the area. We are, indeed, on the grounds of a manor house. Nearby are a large gathering of tents, a fairground, and some playing fields. We are at the tourney. All around are woods.
We manage to sneak out and join the throng without attracting undue attention (that we know of). We set up a tent among others of our assumed class, break up into smaller groups, and go scouting.
One major problem and piece of evidence is that Tom gets no clear readings on his diadem-detecting crystal ball. The pantope believes there is interference from an organic source. Sounds like heavy-duty psychics, or magic, if there's a difference.
Another piece of evidence came busting in on Aphron and Wu while they were picking up gossip in the tavern tent. (This was, incidentally, the tent we once had a door connected to.) A man burst in, covered with blood and pink slime, gasped, "Hants! In the forest. Killed one!" then fell down dead. Aphron examined him and took the opportunity to get a sample of the slime. But not before another fellow got a sample -- a wizardly-looking chap we saw briefly at the castle, known as Agris the Charlatan.
Wu got the slime sample back to the autodoc on the pantope. The machine announced that the material was organic, non-Terrestrial (therefore non-human), and might be a transport fluid (e.g. blood). That was as far as it could go.
Unaware of these sinister doings, Cantrel, Tom, and the Naza went on a little tour to find out the local geography and get a better fix on the diadem segment. We followed a forest road out of camp, down to a village, and, turning left at a fork, went off into some more forest. There, we found a dead body, pierced many times. We hastened back to the village. On the way back, Cantrel spotted dim white figures racing through the forest. He also found occasional evidence of passage through the woods, but very slight. The best find was an oddly long and thin footprint.
The diadem segment, by the way, appears to be somewhere in the woods near the tourney camp. The next day, most of the company, excepting Dave and Lorelei, went off into the woods looking for the segment. There, the Naza accidentally sprang a deadly trap. Well, it would have been deadly for most people. She just snarled her foot in it. But someone had set a trap for hunters -- modified a rabbit snare so that anyone coming to take their catch would themselves be caught, and anyone with them would probably be thrown onto some nasty sharp stakes hidden in the grass. We began looking for snares, then, and found them, especially guarding an animal (?) track we found.
The track, we noticed, led around a section of forest protected by thorny hedging. We chose a likely-looking spot and tried to get through it. It was guarded by live ... well, elves. There was a scramble in the thorn bushes, Tom got punched with a metal spear, and we retreated to the forest path. There, Cantrel played guerrilla warfare with a couple of other guards and actually saw one at the cost of much blood (Cantrel's). These "hants" are tall, thin, and pale, humanoid but not human. Dr. Wu made a brief effort to open negotiations, but they did not respond. We are now retreating and leaving the forest to them. For the time being.
Copyright © 1998, Jim Burrows. All Rights Reserved.