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Turn 102 The next day

You spend a wonderful evening followed by some much needed rest. Gareth stands watch without waking anyone and notes about 5:00am the gypsy camp moving out. A few bring over some food for you for breakfast before heading out. As morning dawns, those of you suspicious search belongings and find all is intact and nothing seems to be missing. Prayers are uttered, and spells memorized. Exercises, and sparring completed, breakfast begun.

Keldar awakens, groans loudly, then gathers up his gear. He walks over to the horse he had been riding on, then slumps down beside it, cradling his head in his hands. He sits, awaiting help getting on the horse, and with a green face, quickly refuses any offers of food Reggie will give.

Rising from his prayer time, Gareth watches the party finishing packing up after their later breakfast (Gareth availed of the free food in the AM). Having already stowed his gear atop the well-watered and fed Emperor, the knight nonetheless indicates that the horses' should be checked and at least rough-brushed before departing. "Pikahl watches over us, but we are also responsible for these fine steeds." Gareth also takes the additional time to check over the unclaimed mounts. When all is set to his satisfaction, the warrior washes head to toe, pats his mare fondly and quickly rises into the saddle. "Barring serious objection, I suggest we continue riding; standard formation" (if road...2X2... if room, then spread out). The knight draws his longblade and touches the pommel to his forehead, and quietly (for him) prays, "My thanks, great Lord Pikahl, for your boundless wisdom, kindness and protection, arranging healing of mind and body for those in need of it. I pray of thee to watch over mine companions and protect them as they do thy work and the work of thy brethren. In Pikahl's name." Sunlight reflects blindingly as the longsword splashes the morning around on its passage back into the sheath girding Gareth's back and shoulder. "We ride companions." The paladin leads the company southward.

Arilyn is bright-eyed and fresh and looks at all the members of the party. She has the feeling that she cannot account for every minute of last evening but thinks that is because of the past days excitement and wonderful entertainment of last night. She looks at Gareth and feels her cheeks flush red, having no idea why. Arilyn turns and sees Kay and a smile brightens her face. She walks up to Kay, draws her sword and playfully taps Kay on her hip. "Do you want to show me some of your moves?" she laughs. Arilyn twirls and taps Kay on the side of her other hip. "I would love to show you some of mine," she grins.

Kay finishes adjusting the straps around her tabard and looks up, "For someone who was dragged back to camp last night, you sure look good. Guess elves never get hangovers." Once properly dressed, she stands up and looks herself over. "As for moves, as in swordplay, I'm not bad, but archery is my forte. My parents had a bow in my hand the day after I could stand. They also taught me how to make the suckers, so if you have any need for any of that, be my guest. Just not now, Gareth looks like he's ready to leave."

Jahl looks up from his very brief brushing of his horse. "I'll ride in the back with Arilyn, we seem to work well together." Jahl sniffs slightly and then decides that his brushing is finished. He finishes the rest of his packing and patiently waits for the others.

"That was a great show last night, Cao...I never knew that you are such a great actor. You will have to perform again for us." After Barbaxle eats his meal he will brush his horse and prepare his saddle. "Gareth, are we going anywhere special. Did you get any information about weird happenings from the gypsies??"

"We will continue our original mission, since nothing else has presented itself, aye? There are a... were a number of towns and gatherings within the section of land ahead; it is important to find if they still flourish or not. I do find it interesting that it seems the large cities, the most defended, were the sites experiencing the hardest attacks. That village we came across was not shiny and new, and yet it has survived the war. Perhaps fortunate location saved their home, or perhaps there is something else to the beast wars. Mayhap our answer lies ahead..."

Caoimhin, who was been puttering about quietly, getting his pack together, turns and nods to Barbaxle. "Thank you, old friend. Indeed, acting is my chief profession, and perhaps my only talent -- although not a few will grudge me even that one! And, 'tis true, my first and only love. It was good indeed to be on the stage again. I've missed it more than I knew." He looks around the campsite, and you notice that he is squinting his left eye strangely. "Would that these were happier times, that I might have stayed with my people and done more on the stage." He sighs and goes back to arranging his pack. "`Patience, child,' is no doubt what dear old Padraig would say. After all, why am I here, but to see whether the lands are truly again safe, so that proud Dubhlachan can return to the road, and me their son with them?" He smiles wistfully. "No offense to you, old friends and new companions. I could not wish for a better group to travel with -- but last night awoke in me a longing for home I have long suppressed." He starts moving his pack towards his horse. "Well, there's nothing to be done for it now, I suppose. Ever onward."

"If acting is your only love, why the heck are you traveling with a bunch of." Kay pauses to think of a proper word, "Er, Adventurers? When you could be with the "Famous Bound'n Bosin Brothers", or any other traveling actors group. They go about from town to town performing to those who can stand it...Maybe you got in the wrong line?"

Caoimhin's jaw sets firm, and he closes his eyes as he responds. "I need not explain myself to you, Kay Wanderwit of Fawn, yet I will, just this once. My clan has been many years trapped in the city of Meyr, for fear of the wild things outside the gates that killed full two of every three of my family before we sought shelter. We knew not that any clans who had not similarly hidden themselves had survived -- meeting Dulcianen was a great and joyous surprise. And now that the beasts appear to have left, I was sent to investigate -- to see if it was truly once again safe for Dubhlachan to return to the road." He opens his eyes and turns to glare at Kay. "These many years of captivity have hurt my people much. Still, it seems we ought to have been grateful: in some parts of this land, the price exacted for one man's love for the supposedly virginal daughter of the wrong well-placed family is genocide, the cold-blooded murder of an entire clan." He spits on the ground. "Did it make your fathers proud, Kay Wanderwit? Did they collect trophies from the children they killed? Did they..." He stops, shaking with rage, then closes his eyes and breathes before quietly continuing. "No, I will not let you have this power over me." He turns to resume his packing in silence.

Wulfgar walks to Cao "Steady my friend, I think that this has gone far enough between you two. I trust you Cao with my life and you Kay really yet have to earn that trust so please do not try to put anything onto my friend." He smiles at Kay "I understand what you have gone through and the hatred that burns in your stomach will eventually consume you completely if you let it grow."

The gnome, speaking softly, asks, "Ya mind fillin' me in on these beast wars? And would yas mind fillin' me in on yesterday? I've got a mean head-ache, and was prolly inta too much drink, but I remember nothin' but us runnin' from a burnin' keep, and now were on the road."

Walking over from Cao, the knight appears to be deep in thought, but takes time to examine the gnome-dwarf's health, testing with thumbs, flicking eyelids open, and generally being a helpful pain. As the inspection progresses, Gareth informs the trio of new arrivals about the history of the monster wars on humanity.

Vincas looks at the ground and says "Well. I'm not sure what to tell you old friend. It seems that you were effected by a spell while we we're fleeing from the keep. No one cast it on you, but it seems to be a side-effect of a spell that quenched the flames. Since then, you haven't been quite yourself. I was hoping it would wear off, but it doesn't look like it will."
Vincas shuffles his feet and looks to the rest of the party for help "You see, haven't been Keldar since the spell took it's hold on you. At first you acted as a small boy, and last night you were Bock. I don't know who you're going to be today, Bock from the sounds of it. I know this must seem weird and confusing, but you have to trust me on this. Ask Reggie, he'll tell you the same."
Vincas waits for whatever reaction he'll get from the gnome as he packs his gear.

The gnomes hold on to his head, " yesterday I was Bock, and before that a little boy.... is this that spell castin' stuff again? I don't remember castin' a spell at the fire..... but I don't remember anything after that..."
He looks over at his newer companions, "I'm sorry ta say folks, but you live in a messed up land."

Vincas looks at Keldar, a smile appearing on his face. "Does that mean that we have you back now Keldar? You're not going to turn into my Dad or anything are you?"

Keldar seems embarrassed by the descriptions of his past behavior, and allows anyone with any medical skill to examine him during the half-hour break proposed.

Cole approaches the Palidin and in a serious tone you have never heard from him he inquires.
" Sir Gareth.......I've been thinking about something. I believe that we need to find out from those in our party exactly where they are from and if they are banned or outlawed in any towns, so as to prevent any unwanted confrontatons in our travels and if anything we could add new stops to our tour of this country."

The knight nods. "I shall do so this evening, judiciously, so that no harm is taken by anyone.

Changing back to the childlike person you've came to know Cole wanders off to scratch some things onto the map.

Wulfgar notes along your ride, that his hometown of Heron is the next town on this road you travel.

Gareth suggests a half-hour rest break for food and watering the mounts, then pushing on 'til just before dusk.

Caoimhin concurs. Better to be a day-and-a-half out of town, so that we can arrive in the unfamiliar (to most of us) town with some daylight left.

Jahl, quick to be removed from his horse says, "Yes! A short rest would be very welcome! A comfortable place to rest that isn't shifting and moving beneath you is always an agreeable respite." Upon finding a place to sit, Jahl plops down and releases a long, happy sigh. "The only thing that would make this any better would be a snack," Jahl suggests towards Reggie's general direction.

Reggie gets off his horse, and lays on the ground for a minute or two (Until he's bored). He will then go looking around for either herbs, roots etc. for tonight's meal or firewood.

"Keldar, I think that you will be ok. The magic has done some weird stuff around here, you should have seen it when Cole turned a pretty pink color." Barbaxle laughs "Now that was funny!!! Ha Ha! Now that you know what can happen, just make sure that you cast spells only when you have to. I won't say anything about that goat you were playing with yesterday..." Barbaxle gets off his mount as the group rests, he will give his steed some water and attention. "Wulfgar, what do you know of this city of Heron? Have you ever been there before? Is this a big city or just a little village??"

Arilyn slips gently off her horse like a drop of dew falling from a leaf to the ground. She rubs his snout and calmly talks to him..saying how strong and beautiful he is. In Arilyn's mind, the look in his eyes convey his understanding. He tilts his head back majestically as she reaches in her pouch for some sugar. She nods and pats Keldar on his shoulder as she walks past him. Arilyn stands next to Wulfgar. "This rest comes at a perfect time. Do you know what is between here and Heron?"

He turns to Arilyn "Yes I have been to Heron! I was raised there, it is my home town." His eyes seem to fade as though memories flood his mind. "We will have somewhere comfortable to stay if the village has not changed. I have been gone for some time now!" He turns and walks away to sit by himself and closes his eyes to concentrate.

Keldar awaits the exams to finish then meekly calls out, "Could all you holy folk come here fer a second. We kinda found something interesting back before we were sent to ya. Our ... friend who brought us here didn't take this away as I though he would. I though maybe yous could look and see what you think of it."
He pulls out a heavey tome and lays it on the ground in front of him.

Gareth rises to his feet, fastidiously brushing minute dirt from his knees, and adjusting his armour slightly. "With the sound of the horses and Jahl clattering his spoon on Reggie's cookpot, it might be a little difficult for them to hear your restrained voice Keldar; allow me." A loud, booming, "Wulfgar. Barbaxle. Please attend us," a final snap of the azure tabard, and the paladin patiently awaits Wulfgar and Barbaxle to aid in the examination of the tome.

Wulfgar looks up at the sound of the booming Paladin "I wish he had a mute button!" he thought as he stands up. Walking slowly half expecting a hundred Orcs to come running whooping out of the woods {This is not meant to get the DM thinking about having a hundred Orcs come whooping out of the woods more as a jibe at Gareths loud vocal skills}he walks over to where Gareth stands.

Arilyn trails close behind Wulfgar, curious to see the tome that Keldar has put in front of himself. She stops next to Wulfgar and Gareth...deep in thought.

"What the..." Barbaxle walks over to were Gareth and the other are. "What's wrong? Is everything ok??" As he sees the book lying on the ground Barbaxle gets a curious look on his face. "Where did you get that from??"

"We grabbed the from an evil mage that had held a centaur under a spell, and was treating it rather harshly as a beast'o'burden. The mage was put down by an arrow through the head by .... .... a friend named Kailin. Inside are details on summoning all kinds of demonic beasties, ya know imps and such. Now that I'm near holy folk, could onna ya check if this thing's just information, or is it somehow evil. And whatamI ta do with it?"

At the sight of a crowd and hearing of something new Cole proceeds to the tome and examines it with a great deal of interest then walks back to his horse and continues his daily grooming.

Wulfgar looks at the book "Well Gareth does it emanate evil?" He pauses to see what the Knight says before continuing!

As Barbaxle inspects the Tome he gets a look of surprise on his face..."I don't like this one bit, that book is definitely evil. I can feel the destructive powers it is emanating. We need to handle this book lightly. Gareth, we have a decision to make do we open it and hope to find out some of its secrets or do we destroy it so that none of its evil and continue?? This is an interesting dilemma that we are in. If we open it and try to learn from it, its possible that the evil inside to start to control us. Although we might be able to learn a great deal about the things that have been going on around Meyr lately. This could be the first big clue for or mission. Eventually I think that we must destroy that Tome, we can't let it fall into the wrong hands." After that Barbaxle will wait to hear from the others in the group. "I think that I will pray for some guidance on this subject. I just hope that we don't make the wrong decision." When everyone has had a chance to voice their opinion, Barbaxle sit down by his horse and pray.

Keldar speaks up, "I've opened it. Nothin' happened to me then. It contains information on summoning neather-beasts, but nothing from my skim over it said nothin' 'bout where it wuz from or how ta destroy it. I tried ta give it to a priest once, but dicided I didn't trust 'im enough."

"It is gravely evil, friend Wulfgar" the paladin responds with a grimace. "Even my weakened evil sense feels waves of its malevolence; I must think back on how to contain and dstroy such evil."

Vincas spots the group investigating the tome. He rushes over and offers the following
"Have a care with that book. The mage who possesed it was as evil as they come. We haven't done much with it, out of fear that it could work it's evil on us by just perusing it's contents. But maybe there are some clues in here that will help us. It contained alot about monsters and how to summon them. Maybe it also offers some information about their weaknesses and how to combat them. This could prove to be a valueable weapon in our mission, but I'm hesitant to use it due to it's malevolent origin."

Arilyn looks over to Vincas, Keldar, and Barbaxle. "I agree Barbaxle. We must pray and ask our gods for direction. This tome could be our greatest blessing or our worst curse." She looks around to all the other members of the party. "Let us seek direction from our gods before we proceed." Arilyn walks away from the group and lowers her head...

Wulfgar looks at the book again then picking it up "Perhaps I should keep this for now! Unless anyone else would like to carry it?" He looks at Arilyn with a wry smile before turning to return to his sitting position away from the main party.

Gareth replies thoughtfully"Keldar was the one carrying this book. Keldar was the one afflicted by a rather severe separation from himself. It may be the magic errancy of spell-use, though Keldar's condition lasted much longer than all but one instance we have seen, and was the most drastic, but I suspect this book may have caused, or augmented the destructive confusion on Keldar. I would not wish to carry it, but although the divine protection servants of Pikahl receive may not be ... in effect against this work, there are many techniques we are shown to resist evil...which makes me the most logical choice to carry the book. I shall attempt to restrain its evil with a simple set of barrier markings, but we should discharge its unholy nature as soon as possible. Hopefully Heron will possess what we need."

"While I agree that we should seek communion with our respective gods, it is no dilemma" the paladin responds resolutely. "It is a work, a text of evil, and make no mistake about it. The longer it remains on this world, the longer its malevolence touches those who would be better off without its presence. I am, I must confess, a little surprised Barbaxle. For a man so close to nature, it is most odd that you would investigate a work used to befoul the natural orders of life, to bring forth those abominations who seek but to inflict misery and destroy the beauties of the world around us. It is a text focusing on twisting the hearts and minds... and souls. Could we read such a text, even heavily warded, without being tarnished or infected with its words of evil?; I wonder... and I doubt such to be the case. Perhaps a better question would be: 'Can we trust what information we find?' No. The decision then is a simple one, to me anyway: 'Do we imperil our lives, the lives of those around us, and even our souls, to read from a text we know to be dangerous and we know to be untrustworthy? Perhaps it is the way I have learned from the brethren at the monastary; I am here to seek out evils, to protect peoples, but openly, honestly, and fairly. I make no deals with those who would perpetuate any work that contradicts those simple ideals. This tome," Gareth points accusingly at Keldar's book, "Is evil; so do we agree. Gambling, bargaining our souls for possible information is too close to working with evil for my comfort, and I cannot agree with such action; I urge you most strongly against doing so. Although I would seek divine confirmation for the reasons you have mentioned... the book must be destroyed." The knight appears to have a small difficulty swallowing, but continues. "Although I do recall a ritual reported to be most effective in pacifying evil works, I am not-... I have not-... My current estranged state does not allow me to complete it in full; a holy symbol is required" the knight finishes in a rush of discomfort. "I can advise and walk you through the ritual - we also require seven olive branches or another branch of a tree so dedicated to the gods, holy water, and several herbs... not to mention a candlemaker, which I hope Wulfgar's hometown to contain. It is designed for the faith of Pikahl, however... so while I may beseech Pikahl, you must also do the same for your dieties."

While the group speaks about the tome, Kay and Caoihmin are argueing quietly in the background. To view their spat, Click Here!

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