My apologies for not writing sooner. I wanted to let you know about the Oracle, but I had to report to the Explorer’s.
There’s some signs that Kumori’s quest will overlap with searching for the same item that my parents were when they were last seen.
It speaks to the level of challenge we face, but it also is a chance for me to prove myself equal to or greater than my illustrious parents. There’s also the chance they are yet alive, so who knows what will come of the discoveries ahead.
Speaking of the road ahead, it was supposed to be a sea voyage. Indeed, I expected to be off of Io and back in Poseidon’s waters sooner than we were, but the delay did allow a bit of insight into the way things work in Io.
First, we lost Kumori to the lamp, which leaves the group somewhat disorganized. While I am able to lead in general, I am not dynamic or inspiring, so it is more of a second-in-command position I occupy.
However, that’s not overall that important: you see, as we were leaving the inn, with our idler Leander, to go to the docks, the doors opened, and a mountain of a man came into the place, barreling me over.
He went to the innkeeper, as a set of men in varying degrees of armed and (theoretically) dangerous waited in and amongst my group, and was quiet upset at the lack of available rooms. He picked the innkeeper up and held him aloft, his bulging biceps caring naught for the burden.
A fellow stepped forward, unsheathing his sword, and Smriti, her kind and innocent heart, leapt into the fray, trying to stun the brute. It was a good idea, though one that the brute easily resisted due to his hearty constitution.
The timing of it all made me choose my allegiances pretty quickly. Clearly, the group was altogether, and the brute who was holding the innkeeper was about to have his lackey brandish the sword to threaten the innkeeper with torture, or outright death. That my earlier suspicions about the group were wrong, and that the sword wielder announced he was militia did not sway me to believe the people around us were in fact opposing the brute.
I chose discretion, though, pulling a sap to whack the militia rather than use more lethal force against them. I thought it kind. However, when my target shouted, ‘Hey, he’s with him…’ instead of her… well, that was not the best of plans.
Iz seemed much change since the visit to the Temple of Healing, but I hadn’t seen her in combat since then, so when she cast a spell that seemed to shake the men to their core, it was an interesting and deliberate choice, which may bode well for the team overall. That she targeted an area with me in it is at present forgivable, though it would be more so were it something like the lightning Ian has spoken of – he speaks of the forces of air the way that Kumori talks of Satori, with respect and admiration and even a bit of longing, as if to draw upon it is to complete the being.
The chaos that ensued was made all the more chaotic by the severe blows placed upon Smriti by the brute and the dazzling weapon displays he repeatedly put on.
Thankfully, Smriti was spared, with the aid of Ignatius, Iz, and Dusky, though she was badly scarred.
I took up a spot that would hopefully draw the brute into a position such that Dusky and I could pincushion him and draw his attention from Smriti, but he ultimately strained himself, exhausting himself and possibly opening an old wound. It wasn’t clear how, but he basically gave up the fight.
I offered the militia my aid, but there was no clear leadership willing to allow it on the spot, so having backed off, Smriti having run off, and the room generally either shaken or traumatized, the brute slunk off into the night.
Ignatius did a most honorable and respectable job of speaking for the party. He even commended the man who stepped up in the absence of clear leadership, and it is because of him that courage was recognized in a fashion that hopefully he appreciates.
We recovered and went to the docks, where there was no sign of the Moon. Smriti was most eager for news, so when another ship, an Ionian ship, sent a boat to the docks, she inquired after it. I gave Smriti a hard time about her confusion over a ship and a boat, but it’s the sort of thing that an honest guide like myself is aware – the power of names.
The crew of that ship were not inclined to charter and take us the way we wanted. There was some talk of possibly on the way back, if we were not fortunate. I worried that the crew had been caught in the war of these Ionian city states more than I worried about pirates.
However, when we went back, we passed the brute, well, Smriti asked us to avoid him, so we did.
A few hours later, at the Inn, we were approached to be part of the militia to hunt the giant, and we agreed, but Smriti was most worried about the ship – she is most eager to go back home, having heard about the tides in her homeland recently.
Thankfully, after dinner, we got back to find more of the crew waiting. The plan, they said, was to sail out tomorrow on the tide. I asked them to relay a request that we stay a bit longer, to meet out justice, certain that the Captain, one of the most noble working men I know other than Kumori, would honor the request, and any swabs who wanted to mutiny would be less inclined when told that I had left a month’s worth of charter price with Leander.
It was agreed, and so we set out, heading towards the Temple of Healing. We did not see Kumori’s horse in the horse pasture, so we were certain he was sucked into the lamp, as had previously been experienced by our mounts what seems like ages ago.
The trip up the mountain was quiet, but when we reached the temple, it was a scene of horror. The ‘granite’ (really, wood, but well done – even I was almost fooled when I first visited) was busted open, the snakes basking in the sun outside, the brazier overturned, with dead snakes and blood stains decorating the floors and walls of the temple. Even the statue of the Ionian god was sundered, with the arm holding the staff lying among the dead snakes and the throat slashed, as he did to Smriti.
We had two hallways to choose from – and knowing confined spaces and the group didn’t exactly work well, especially when our torch was a longspear, I suggested Smriti call out to him to come out and give himself up.
There was no motion or activity but for a priest, ducking his head out. Shortly, he called out ‘Is he gone?’ which he did in Ionian. I did not answer, hoping that the sound of a missed victim would cause the brute to come forward. When he asked again in Common, Smriti did, and we soon saw how badly the priests had been hurt.
We set out towards the goat farm, but they said he had moved on, into the mountains. They did seem to be glad that the goat was accepted by Apollo, though I imagine they also have a no refunds policy.
Ultimately, when the militia men felt that the brute was not going to come back, and with the added knowledge that he was doomed to die for defiling a sacred temple, the militia thanked us for the aid in the investigation, and asked that we turn back around.
We stopped at the temple, to see what we could do to right things. The priests were happy to see us, for they had no way to mend the statue, and Ian said that he could help.
However, that required we stay overnight, which we had been tramping about for nearly eight hours, so that’s as may be. The militia were eager to get home and decided to press on.
The priests thanked us for our efforts with a bit of a medicinal leaf – I am a bit confused over how to use it. I must ask Ignatius, who was sucked into the lamp earlier, what he knows. I imagine he’s enjoying the talks with the people in the lamp for the knowledge they can offer.
We went back, got on the ship, and it was mostly quiet. However, we were attacked by giant wasps with poisonous stingers who appeared seemingly out of nowhere. In fact, after we slated two of the beasts, the third disappeared into nothing, almost like it was teleported, if you believe Iz.
I used a bit of what Coatl left to save a man’s life, but overall, it was only a threat to life and limb if two had ganged up on me or the poison left me paralyzed and unable to breath.
The incident the Captain, who hasn’t really socialized much with us, to call a meeting, and I suggested it was the Kaidanese or the druids who captured Qasim or any of our past foes we had not properly dealt with to do so.
Still… it could be something else… but who or what?
Hope you are well,