Sunday, 22 November 2015

Kampi's Saga - Lh'qelts & Samhain

Boo! It's another instalment of Kampi's Saga! As a bonus treat for this past much belated-Hallowe'en and that your costumes were oh so scary, it's a pair of some of the final events combined into a single post! Huzzah!

Actually it's mostly because Kampi himself only made relatively short appearances in Dagger Deep both days; I myself spent the majority of time as other characters, so it seemed logical to try and compress the two entries. At least they give me an excuse to do a minor image dump and stretch out the IC details. Enjoy!

The fourth Day of Wodin
Month of Wine
Local Year 5315

Runes: Wunjo
Divine Association: Valfreyja, the Lady of the Slain
Literal Meanings: Joy
Interpretations: Comfort
  • Right-side: Affection, Ecstasy, Harmony
  • Inverted: Desire, Loneliness, Sorrow

The morning of this day was most uneventful; at least it was when I was present in town for my Watch shift. Being the only member present early day, I made the rounds; the town was sparsely populated. Though I should've been thankful for the quiet, I couldn't help but feel a sense of boredom: I suppose I'm used to something always occurring in this town; was it wrong for me to have thought such a thing? It makes me sound like a one of the many recent arrivals, searching for adventure and glory, desiring coin and fame.

Speaking of newcomers, Prince Corbin waved me over to introduce me to a young woman named Levi, who was vaguely interested in joining the Watch. As I showed her about the town and detailed to her the duties of the Watch, I inquired to her reasoning to coming to such a benighted place:

Her taciturn answers led me to presume she came here solely for the reasons I expressed above. I would be lying if I was hoping her interest in the Watch seemed more than the pursuit of steady income, though I cannot fault her for that: everyone has to eat, and being a member of the Watch, though at times tedious, frustrating, or downright dangerous, is at least one of the few legitimate ways to earn one's keep in this frontier. She did comment on my supposed trustworthiness, though I am unsure if that was meant as a compliment or slight, now that I think back upon it. We soon parted ways, and I later found she made some coin working as a body guard for Corbin.

I briefly talked with Sheriff Ayla, whom, along with her fellow follower of Lanthar, the dwarf Burrd, were the only members of the Watch present that day. During our talk, I happened to see a lady searching vainly in distress; I inquired if she had a concern and she told me of a man desperately calling from the church of Cheeba for the mage Erasmus. I bid her to lead me to him and she did; there, lying on his back within a drawn magical circle framed by the sunlight pouring through the round window inlaid with the five-pointed star of their deity, was the paladin known as Jackal.

When I inquired to his state of duress he told me that Shar (apparently some sort of malicious goddess?) had bewitched his right arm, and he had hoped that by the blessed light of his goddess Cheeba, it would be driven from his body. Unfortunately the ritual served only to aggravate the possessed limb, causing to act beyond it's owners' will. Jackal beseeched us to find the fellow Cheebite Erasmus.

The druid Nash, newcomers Garguth and Heinrich Hammerfell, and Sunset.
The young lady I and scoured town, searching and inquiring about the mage's whereabouts. Upon entering into the tavern, the elven cleric Sunset made to introduce me to a pair of men I did not recognize, but I had to unfortunately interrupt her for my current task was of greater import. We learned that supposedly Eramus left town some time ago, we returned to Jackal with the unfortunate news.

Since his friend could not be found, he bid drag him out of the circle which he was bound; we did so, though I was wary of any untoward actions on the paladin's behalf. But he seemed fine beyond his understandable vexation as we escorted him back to town. Soon after we parted ways I ran into the very person we were searching for, Erasmus, and quickly led him to Jackal; I left the two Cheebites to their business so I could return to my own.

Soon afterwards I once again encountered Sunset and after apologizing for my curtness earlier I was able to devote my undivided attention to her; she resumed to introduce one of the individuals that was present with her in the tavern; an old 'friend': he was a stern-looking man dressed mostly in black with matching cape done in violet trim. He bore a thin, sharp moustache upon his unsmiling face and a thrice-cornered hat upon his head; a worn flanged mace hung from his belt. He introduced himself as Heinrich Hammerfell, an old acquaintance of Sunset's and a hunter of witches from their shared land.

He inquired intently to my profession and upon hearing my answer made a disparaging comment that this town appeared to be filled with naught but "herbalists" and "layfolk". He began to go on at length, much to her chagrin, about some of their past history together, namely a song sung in her 'honour'. Though I did not enjoy how he did not to give Sunset the chance to speak most of the time, guiltily I must admit I did enjoy furthering her embarrassment by requesting the song transcribed into my own handbook:
'Sunset Steelwolf, going on adventures in Galerion.
There's owlbears & direwolves, & even a troll;
Through good times and bad times, OH she'll be there for you!
Because she's Sunset Steelwolf,
going on adventures in Galerion!'
(This final line was to be repeated twice, with emphasis on the end)
As Heinrich was scribing this down, the misanthrope Balthier had inserted himself into the conversation and after the two men argued the semantics of equestrianism, Balthier casually announced how he grew tired of their dialogue and as he took his leave how intended to relieve his boredom with murder.

Balthier might have been intentionally seeking my ire with those words, but I wasn't about to leave it to chance; I followed him into nearby Fort Rowanoak, heedless of Sunsets words of concern or the fact that Heinrich still had my book.

Once I stepped boldly as I could manage through the gateway, I saw Balthier talking with the Mitrite Ariha and a princess of Ter'Solma commonly known as Sparrow. I had heard this Sparrow had made it known in the past that Balthier had slain her several times without provocation and I saw that his coming here could bare similar intent. An awkward tension filled the air; Balthier flat out mocked me saying that I was here to 'be a guard'; I tried to brush aside his derision by claiming I only wished to speak with Ariha.

I then tried to engage the late Marcus' former apprentice, inquiring of her well-being; her reply was stilted. It was painfully obvious our dialogue was forced, but that was little import to me, I hoped that my unexpected presence would keep Balthier from any action, or at least reconsidering any. Fortunately Sunset and Heinrich entered the fortification a few uneasy heartbeats and the situation was defused; as we all collectively left Rowanoak and went our separate ways, just after Heinrich returned my book, Balthier commented to me that he'd willing be taken to gaol, but only provided he was politely requested to do so.

I suspect this was more mockery on his part; faint rumour has spread that the supposed lasting death attempt on him months ago, allegedly by the previous Captain of the Watch, Wolfgang Krieger, (which led to him being stripped of his position), was all just a ploy by the now ex-sheriff, Balthier. Even if no longer of that position, I believe Balthier could would undoubtedly wield his wide influence against me if I incarcerated him without 'valid' reason.

In the meantime, I'll continue to keep a weather-eye upon him and thwart any harm he can cause, with my very life if need be. Such is duty. The princess Sparrow seemed to care little that another attempt on her life may have been foiled. It's easy to see how many view those in nobility as discourteous and impudent. Again, such is duty.

As the day grew on and I was forced to leave the region on personal business outside of Uberland, apparently (as it want to occur during my absence) a great multitude of hosts descended upon Dagger Deep; accounts tell of an abyssal force under the command of Yog'So'thoth, along with a barbarian hoard, countless crazed figures, an undead scourge, and even disgruntled fairy-folk, all with their own intent.

It seems I'd inadvertently avoided what the fates had prepared for me to relieve my boredom.

Praise be that the township had endured that combined storm, though I heard the brazen pirate Abbott met his final end that day, having his soul destroyed by the walking krake, Yog'So'Thoth. I have wrote in the past that I didn't particularly like Abbott, though I do not wish to speak ill of him, but he is another reminder that fatality does exist in this relatively deathless land.

The remainder of my evening was spent mostly by my lonesome in the tavern; Levi visited briefly to talk. Then a rampant feastling from the abyssal force began to cause trouble around the sparsely populated streets until Elora captured it with magic and bound in the stocks, where we questioned it; apparently it had grown disfranchised in its lot and longed for freedom, but it still had instincts from mischievous to murderous. We placed it in a magical slumber and locked it within the gaol, where it remained until an odd fellow from the far east awoke it with intent to question it further and it escaped.

I warned the eastern warrior that aiding in the escape of a prisoner from gaol is a minor offence of the law, and in the collective surprise of all present, he sought forgiveness by taking his own head with a single deft swing of his sword. Eventually the remainder of us managed to banish the creature and restored the warrior to life.

I decided not to lay charges against him, for his brazen... apology.

The first Day of Thonar
Month of Slaughter
Local Year 5315

Runes: Hagalaz
Divine Association: Thrymir, sire of the jötnar.
Literal Meanings: Hail
Interpretations: Hardship
  • Right-side: Confrontation, Emotion, Tempering
  • Inverted: Disaster, Frustration, Wrath

After a week spent back at Helm's Deep, I returned for the local Samhain tradition (pronunciations varied, but I was told it was as 'sah-win'), a revered day somewhat similar to the Vetrnætr or the Winter Nights festival of my homeland; it marks the beginning of our winter season (in nordtheim, we only have two seasons: winter and summer), the start of a new year, and it is also the day the All-Father Wodin is believed to embark with his host in a Wild Hunt throughout the nine worlds. Also like Vetrnætr, during Samhain it is believed the borders between the worlds are at there weakest, allowing spirits and creatures to freely roam Midgard. Here, it was a strange day to say the least, for the parts I was present for.

Making my usual Watch rounds, I happened upon a man in the tavern, face down on a table and dead to the world; at first I thought him a passed out reveller from the night before, but he was unresponsive to my attempts to rouse him and I found his flesh cold and that noticeable odour became apparent. I notified the barkeep and after she checked his belongings for 'any clues to identity' she asked me to keep my blade easy to draw should he prove violent; she restored him to life.

Once returned, he seemed grateful to find himself in somewhat friendly surroundings and company, and after inquiring to the date, he told me that the last thing he recalled was being slain by undead over a fortnight past. Somebody must've been kind enough to deposit his corpse in the bar, else it might have been worn away completely by the elements and the tenuous link to his spirit be lost. He sincerely thanked me and we parted ways.

Just as I returned to my concerns, a commotion brought me to the temple district, where an alarming sight befell my eyes: a throng began to gather around the priestess of Ithus, Sprig, who bore great wounds. It was soon ascertained she was unable to speak; I offered my daybook for her to scribe her answers to the questions asked of her as Persius began to treat her wounds. I lent my Watch sash as a makeshift bandage.

Despite her harmed and mute form, she assured everyone that she was fine; her state was brought about by the cruel hands for Northbrook, where she was kept prisoner since I last saw her. She, along with a few fellow members of her 'family', the Wild Ones, endured deprivation and torture until several escaped; apparently Northbrook demanded the return or whereabouts of their missing Cardinal, whom we removed during their last engagement with us.

I was practically beside myself with grief and rage. Though I was relieved beyond measure that Sprig had returned to us, the state the godless monsters of Northbrook left her in was almost too much for me to bare. Sprig's bright personage had always cleared away clouds that oft gathered around my thoughts, but seeing her like that caused a mist of anger cloud my mind; I bit my lip until it bled, caring not the pain it caused.

During a one-sided conversation with the witchhunter Xander, whom had apparently returned from his long absence at the bottom of a cask, the herbalist Nash brought word that the mage Boz, who was also captive of Northbrook, had placed her under a magical slumber, fully unprovoked. It was quickly presumed that he may still be under the influence of the powers of Northbrook, and Sprig, at our protestations, resolutely set off in pursuit of the rogue caster.

I followed the band as we searched the lengths and breaths of the surround lands; though I had a duty to the Watch and town, I was oathbound to Sprig for all that she has done since we first met just over a year ago. Try as we did, we found no sign of Boz, and once we returned back to the village I bade Sprig to rest, for such activity would surely aggravate her wounds. After some talk it was soon decided that she would return to the Wild Ones' camp under the aid of Brynn. We parted ways and I silently vowed to keep a watchful eye for Boz as I returned to my duties.

During a brief moment during the concern for Sprig, her fellow Ithusian, Hector,
handed to me a parchment map of the township that he had compiled at my request.

Sometime following those personal events, things began to become... odd to say the least. First I had to eject two strangely dressed women from the royal court on the grounds they were not nobility. They were looking for a place to have a 'T' party and inquired about a Red Queen (whom I thought they meant Lady Pain, consort to the Red King), but they clarified about an ladyship of hearts or something similar. I told them I knew not to whom they were referring to and set them on their way.

Later, as I was in rumination by the crier's post and even stranger dressed man inquired to me: an odd, broad hat was upon his head, from underneath it's brim glittered two devious eyes; he was fully clad in a coat of wan fur that hung to his knees, and in each arm he bore a most unwholsum looking newborn.

In a voice that I could help but not liken to a sheet of embroidered silk covering a hidden serpent, he asked if I was eager to see and join in the upcoming festivities. I inquired of what he was talking about, to which he replied that soon many folk in his employ (a 'karn-ev-all') were to arrive in town and delight its inhabitants with amusements, japes, and thrills, all at the behest of King Willumarius. During our discussion the troupe he was describing began to arrive enmass; when I heard and saw that this group contained "controlled" reanimated corpses and skeletons, my mind could not help but leap to the laws related to the accidental/purposeful release of undead in town.

Two members of the Wild Ones, who had the exact same thought, found me; they were charged with the defence of the town outside of it's borders, but it seemed that I was the only guardsman present so I took it upon myself to verify the sly man's claims with the King, who was present; (un)fortunately, their presence was indeed granted by the Red King and thus his word was above the written law.

I had watched them carefully, until a commotion drew me away to the outskirts of town, where a large crowd was being led to three incredible creatures. The being which led us, was in itself, a curious sight: it had a form vaguely of a man, but glowed with a azure light and was featureless aside from a gnomish moustache where it's face would have been. It wore a garish coat and hat that I somehow recognized, along with it's name: Sebille.

I feel I couldn't sufficiently describe those three bizarre creatures if I tried, so instead I shall refer you to a composition I've acquired:

Though massive in size, towering over us two-legged folk, Sebille proclaimed that they would do no harm to us if we did no harm upon them; their stilted, lumbering gait coupled with their seemingly docile nature leant credence to the blue being's belief. He further said that these creatures may provide the key to discovering the whereabouts of his lost friend, Renshaw, a mage whom I am only familiar with on second-hand account.

At Sebille's behest, the lot of us escorted the Spirit-Walkers as they were called, along their winding journey through the local lands, which ended up going through the town itself to the mystical circle of wood-henge. It was rather worrisome that either certain residents of Dagger Deep or the visiting troupe might take violent action towards these creatures but if there was the intent, perhaps the size of our protective force combined with calming nature of the beasts ensured such did not occur.

Once in wood-henge, with a captive audience surrounding it, Sebille, with the aid of several willing volunteers, enacted some sort of ritual to appeal to the Spirit-Walkers to reveal the whereabouts of Renshaw. Upon reaching it's climax, one of the creatures made a great cry; it's form twisted and shuddered; it seemed that it began to come apart, but where it's forelimb was, a comparatively small man-like arm remained; it's sweeping neck and hunched back gave way to the head and torso of the sought elf-mage, Renshaw.

After the shock and elation had passed, Renshaw related whilst extracting himself further from the form of the Spirit-Walker with the aid of his friends, how he managed to escape his captors by shifting his form and joining this herd of creatures, but by doing so became trapped within the condition. It was only through the fortunate turn of events that transpired he was able to unconsciously make his way back to those who could help him.

Not attempting to seem comparable to the ordeals other's have endured as of late, after I had helped see the remaining two Spirit-Walkers safely to the outskirts of the realm, I was overcome with exhaustion from all the events I witnessed that day and chose to retire to my quiet camp.

I'm sure others spent the remainder of their Samhain celebrating, through I'm strange events did not cease to occur when I left.

I must prepare myself for the upcoming season; some large decisions lay ahead of me.

Praise Be To The Æsir

~Ref 'Kampi' Vandillson