My apologies for not reporting in… I hope you realize that I was in the lamp, sent back in time, and when I came back to the present, more than a month had passed.
Ian and Kumori appeared from the lamp with me, and we found Dusky, who had soldiered on without us. The last little bit of our trip to Cartenden is not worth mentioning, really, mostly catching her up on what happened in the past, and musing that for Iz and Ignatius to miss a festival is a great punishment for both of them, though in different ways.
However, if someone asks what happened at the festival of the arts in the year 1333, let it be known that something – most likely a creature but also possibly a man – preyed on the citizens of Cartenden.
I say creature because the evil nature of the plot suggests it is not a plot from a normal, humanoid mind – for one thing, it began with children, and if the divinations that Kumori uncovered are correct, at least one child is possibly on the road to be corrupted like it is.
There is the possibility it was a neighbor or someone who took a passing fancy to a child, seeing it as a morsel they could snatch up. Even in Bitori society, that level of depravity is not unknown, and there have been tales of clans who had multiple members give up a gift to repeatedly slay an individual who was so depraved as to touch a child inappropriately. However, the individual would also need to have gifts of an arcane nature, from our brief encounter with our foe, and that seems unlikely.
The abduction suggests the fey, but usually the fey replace what they take, so that makes them unlikely. The generic bogeyman does not quite match, but it is a tale which takes many forms, so it’s not impossible the tales we know are not accurate, or there’s some variation in that creature.
There is the vampire possibility if I remember the rumors about the creatures from the time in Espagian territories well enough – the creature has taken no apparent actions during the day, suggesting it either is dormant during the day, or can’t travel as easily at least. Then again, if I had the ability to murder at a distance, since the last person who died did so under armed guard in an interior room with so many barriers to protect them… well, I’d do my best to throw people off my trail and possibly down blind alleys.
Poor Ian. He was the first to be attacked by the creature directly, though it shook us all with a monstrous illusion, seemingly tailored for each of us. Worse yet, Ian appears to have had a lock of hair taken – possibly to make the spell harder to resist. Since neither Ignatius nor Iz were ejected by the lamp when we arrived in Drusas, we are limited to arcane spells, and since Smriti is not with us, there’s no one who is more strong of will than Ian, and he failed to protect against the spell, so I doubt I’d ever be successful against it, especially if it managed to get a lock of my hair, and I doubt Kumori would be much (any) better.
I’ve asked Ian to rest to try to allow himself some flexibility with his spell choices and to avoid him being slow to respond should we face the foe tonight, but it has the ability to read out thoughts and be invisible, among other things – Kumori thought that he connected with it, but that he also failed to connect with it or failed to do damage to it, oddly.
Much to consider in the day ahead. I should be safest of us all, assuming that the daylight and dormancy has any bearing on things, because I can sleep 2 hours during the day and see in the night, should it attack us physically. However, there’s a good chance it can kill us from a distance by merely being patient, and I don’t want to test the limit on that distance and whether that spell can cross into other planes or pocket dimensions, despite Ian having the spell ready to allow us to so test – it may turn out I don’t like the answer.
If you don’t hear from me again, assume we’re all dead and a priest of the tree is badly needed in Cartenden.