A journey begun and bandits found.
We set off for Thaemor. Tuck is determined in wanting to return to the king to report the events we had experienced. He believes, and I fully encourage, that war is going to erupt between the nations. I wonder what will become of Malevich and Iscobal should tempers flare.
To begin, we need mounts. I have no desire to walk for thirty or more some days just to return to Thaemor. My feet already hate my legs who, in turn, detest my mind. Walking… a plague on you. It is time to ride. To this end we shall turn to one of the oldest maxims: finders keepers. Or, rather, if you have a mount and we find it then it becomes our mount for the greater good.
I managed to convince Tuck of the necessity of ambushing the otherwise guiltless for our benefit. Skylar was for it although she has, at times, a soft heart. Shiro seemed excited at the prospect of unburdening travelers of their excesses for our higher need.
We came upon a man mounted on a garthok traveling towards us on the road. A garthok is a large beast of a ruddy complexion. It has a fine canvas of scales that grasp its quadrapedal form in their slithery grip. The beast has a long neck that arches forward allowing for a rope, or I suppose to be accurate reins, to be run just beneath its jaw and clasped on each side by a scale-like protrusion. The reins rest easily here and then links behind so it can be held while astride the back of this tall beast. By height it stands near my shoulder at its own shoulder and the neck arches well over my own head.
Now, my companions seemed to hesitate as the moment yawned. As the time of liberation became imminent, I called out to Tuck to commence and, breaking the hesitation, Tuck yanked the soon to be agreeably generous fellow from his mount. I followed with a psychic thrust that destabilized his awareness. Tuck then knocked him out.
Here the matter may have ended only to commence an endless spiral of intrigue to chase since my companions were desirous to leave him breathing. I, taking the broader vision of reality and practicality, understood that to do so invited future turmoil and, as such, I terminated his capacity for breath and speech. Skylar seemed resigned to what I had done and dragged the body from the road. I will need to keep an eye on Tuck for his reaction and whether this sets back my progress.
Myself, after assisting Skylar in the weak attempt at concealment, carefully inspected his helm only to discover that it is a rather useful artifact. When I wear the helm I have a sense of the future, a premonition of a mere moment of what is to come. I believe that this remarkable device will be most fortuitous in combat. And so the first step towards an amenable transference of goods and supplies has begun for our party of liberators.
In silence we gain.
We arrived in the village of Tacit. A strange and rather dull place. The populace were rendered silent by some device years ago. The only real matter worthy of mention is that Tuck looted the abode of a little old woman while she was within. Good on you Tuck. You are learning. Our cause takes precedence to any other concerns such as adherence to the unsophisticated construct of absolute morality. Instead, Tuck has begun to explore the intricacies of relative morality.
We also met a trio of travelers who claimed they were on their way to Mulen. I suggested that we share a camp should we come upon them later upon the road. Amongst ourselves we established a machination to relieve them of their supplies and their pair of garthok during the night should we, by happenstance, camp with them. The plan was set and should the future part its veil to provide us with the opportunity two more mounts would join our merry troop. I conceded to Tuck’s desire to leave our benefactors breathing after the constructive and appropriate transfer of supplies.
After departing the boring village Skylar killed a mufficorn. I had not seen such a beast before but it is sizeable and the meat is rather amiable to one’s palate. The beast has a sizeable horn that protrudes from its head that puts me in the mind of twilight’s sparkle.
We hurried up the road and as dusk cast her sombre penumbra across the land we spied the luminous ochre of a fire ahead. We hailed the camp and were invited to join their fire for the night’s respite. I told a tale of where we came from by borrowing liberally from truth and truth’s shadow to set them at ease. I then suggested that we stand watch while allowing them a much deserved rest. This being, of course, what we had arranged previously.
Unfortunately, these duplicitous miscreants refused such a grand offer and even had the brazen impertinence to suggest that they would be the ones to stand guard while we slept. In the end we compromised upon sharing the watch.
They were unveiled to be the perfidious betrayers that they were when, in the first watch at which I stood, they attempted to ambush our innocent and guileless group. Such shameless faithlessness could only resolve in one way. As I heard the scuffling sounds of an approaching ambush I quickly woke Tuck and used my protection cypher.
Three more would-be assailants loomed from the murky darkness of the night’s endearment and the fracas began. I am certain they believed numbers to be on their conniving side but we soon disabused them of such callow notions.
I negated two in a manner of perfectly timed strikes of my ability. One, to put it mildly, exploded as a result of such careful ministrations. We secured the supplies and divvied them amongst ourselves. I now can claim to own a garthok upon which I bequeathed the name Tricksy in foul mockery of the delusory bandits that dared assail us.
A border breached. Once more into the breach.
Our pace quickened with the advent of three garthoks although a fourth would give Tuck opportunity to ride as well. A single traveller was then sighted approaching us riding upon such a sought steed. With a glance at Tuck I acquired the garthok for our more important endeavors. The previous rider is unlikely to miss the beast by nature of his cessation of breath.
With the cadre mounted we approached the border to Iscobal. In the distance we spied three soldiers of Ancuan by their distinctive red armour operating a checkpoint. They were clearly inspecting each traveler who wished depart this treacherous nation and comparing them to something they held.
The others urged their garthok to speed and I had little option other than to do the same and follow. Tuck blazed his way through the crowd, surging forward and knocking down the neonates indiscriminately in his bid for deliverance. The others quickly rode through the cleared path and I bravely covered the rear. Alas, my heroism was cruelly repaid in the coinage of an arrow striking my arm.
Such was the terrible destruction wrought by this acrimonious payment that I was thrown from Tricksy to the ground. As I rose to my feet, I discovered Skylar had returned to assist while in the distance I could see Tuck unmounted as well.
Together, as we have in the past, Skylar and I stood down the arrayed terrors of impiety. Outnumbered we took up the herald of dauntless courage and delivered unto them our wrath. I calmly reduced one odious soldier to bits. By this I mean teensy morsels of flesh, blood, gut and gore. This deserving carrion shattered into an eruption of negligible flesh-bits that drenched his companions. They fled.
Turning, we hurried to assist Shiro and Tuck who appeared to be having a problematic essay at subjugating their own trio of assailants. As I rushed forward Tuck finally managed to cut one down while Shiro merrily threw a dagger into Tuck. While I ran, I watched the struggle sustain its embittered poverty of consummation.
The veterans of Ancuan called forth flying circles from the sky and attached themselves to these flying disks. My companions all strained to make one final assault but availed to naught so I rose up my hand and focused my mind.
In that moment a surging power gushed forth to the soldier I had selected and caused him to burst into a cacophony of flesh particles rupturing outwards into an explosion of human miasma. Tuck and Shiro were drenched but such is the wager of the vanguard.
The last fled from the field of battle.
We hastened from that place towards Gtharren where the unknown waited in anticipation of our discovery.
In to the water. Into air.
We found Gtharren and almost lost our opportunity to learn due to the bare desire for the colour purple. As we approached, Skylar suggested that I look up what I could find of Gtharren in one of my books on Numenerra. I shuddered at such a laborious and unwieldy task when in but hours we would discover the truth for ourselves. Thankfully she recognized the superior value of individual experience versus that toilsome and disagreeable process of book research.
Gtharren was a canyon within which resided a large purple shard.
Remaining upon this notion of purple, Skylar and Shiro appear enamored by it and its various hues. That delectable combination of red and blue led their tongues to speak unhindered by the aegis of the mind. Thankfully, Tuck and I were able to convince what appeared to be a projection from the shard that we were true seekers of knowledge and he delivered instruction to bring him an artifact. In the doing we would be granted access to what he claims is a repository of ancient wisdom in the form of the souls of untold dead.
We quickly made our way east from Gtharren to where we were told we would find a lake. A lake was, indeed, there waiting our indulgence. Before I could decide upon a course of action Shiro hurried forward in a truly intrepid manner and plunged into the water.
The water had parted around him leaving him in a column of air. I clambered down to the lake bed and followed to where Shiro shouted he had found a building. The others followed so we all discovered a strange door with a keypad next to it.
The ancient device was covered in symbols that I have not seen before. To find ingress into this enigmatic edifice I pulled out my knowledge Cypher and imbibed it. I entered into a trance and let my mind course through the waves of pattern and formless colour. I focused upon a desire, to know the entry sequence, and in the tumultuous simulacrum a thought formed. In the recesses of my mind a vision of letters… characters perhaps… or maybe just images seeped upwards and guided my fingers through the desire.
The door opened. Behind it was an open chamber that was silent and empty. We made our way inside with Tuck remaining at the door. A voice whispered as a soothing susurrus in words I could not comprehend. A single door stood a silent vigil to our right and to it we went. As we approached the whisper of the wind sighed and the door opened.
Beyond it, where I sit now, is a domed chamber. Gazing upwards I see stars scattered across the night’s sky. The glowing pricks of light hint at the mysteries of the future or past urging us to discover the unknown. I look down once more to see my writing and recall that there are corridors from here that seem to lead to their own chambers. Somewhere within this structure of fascination rests an artifact that will be the key to our potentiality.