Posted by: Cherno Hazelnut | March 31, 2011

Disaster on the Isles, Part III

(Parlez-vous français? Lire cet article sur le Journal de la Capitaine Givreroux – en français!)

Despite the turmoil on the Seven Isles, citizens bravely stuck together and helped one another rebuild.  The wine tent flew away in the wind storm and could not be retrieved, so Cherno purchased a new tent and erected it with the help of friends and even strangers.

Setting up a new tent

Cherno sets the rolled-up tent canvas on the ground, and everyone grabs a tent pole.

Many hands made light work, and after all the toppled equipment was lifted upright again, the vineyard looked like nothing had ever happened.  (If only it were so easy to repair the smithy and pottery shed.)

Everyone helps to raise the other fallen arch

After raising the first arch, everyone helps to raise the second one.

The group of friends was joined by three more unfamiliar visitors.  When the visitors heard about the volcano, flood, and storm winds the Isles had recently suffered, one of them remarked, “Fire, water, air… those are the elements.  The next disaster will be earth.”  It made so much sense that Cherno felt compelled to prepare for an upcoming earthquake.

Three strangers

Cunnos, Ezzera, and Yilix

Another stranger, an elf named Yilix, commented, “unless the earth disaster was included in the volcanic eruption, since lava is both earth and fire.  In which case the next disaster could be one of Spirit, for it is believed that Spirit is the fifth element.”  Bleizdu the Mage was skeptical of Spirit being the fifth element, and Cherno dreaded the thought of what a spiritual disaster might entail.

Cherno shows Bleizdu to the centre of the island

Cherno estimates this is the centre of the island.

Bleizdu asked Cherno to show her the location of the centre of the island, where she intended to meditate and tap into the magical flow of the Isles.  Cherno led the way and wished Bleizdu luck in her meditation.

That night—unrelated to Bleizdu’s meditation, however—a ship ran aground on the Isles.  It seemed that it was trying to come into the bay, but because the lighthouse was not shining, the captain and crew could not see the cliffs until it was too late.  The ship’s cargo spilled out of the broken vessel, but there appeared to have been no casualties.

A ship run aground

Ithil, in seal form, performs a search for the ship's crew.

The next day, a meeting was called to decide what should and could be done to prevent further disaster in the Seven Isles.  It started with Bleizdu telling everyone about the results of her meditation.  According to her, magic levels in the Seven Isles were indeed decreasing.  Unsure of its relevance, Bleizdu also related a vision she received during her meditation; she saw a parchment, with a message written in a language she couldn’t understand, but recognised.

Friends gathered for a meeting

Bleizdu recognised the language from a book on Captain Givreroux’s ship.  The book was written in Draconic, language of the dragons, in which Givreroux was fluent.  Little Satyroi chimed in, “is it the same language on the plaque in the theatre?”  Bleizdu and Givreroux had not seen the stone in the theatre, so Satyroi led the way there.

Anthemei translates the stone

This stone?” asked Korinna.  “I used to make leaf rubbings of it when I was a child.  I thought the pattern was pretty.”  But Givreroux confirmed that it was a Draconic inscription, and although it was worn out in some spots, she translated the message:

The S-ven Shrin– to the ele–nts
Must be recti–ed, ju-ifi-d
Bea—fied and dei–ed
El-e fi– f–l,
Dark w—r rise,
And win– blow,
T-ll t—s shat–r
T—e who resi–
on the Ei–t –les mu-t
Fu—ll their — Pa-t

With so many heads together, the citizens quickly filled in the missing pieces of the message.  Like the parchment found earlier, this message was also a prophecy of the natural disasters, and implied that there were seven shrines of the elements, that needed to be repaired and honoured.  The group opinion was that perhaps the carved stones around the island were shrines, and Satyroi rushed off to count how many carved stones there were.  Alas, there were eleven stones, so they could not be the elemental shrines.  The group headed to the library to seek more answers.

Secret cellar in the library

It wasn’t long before several citizens noticed a book on the shelves, that seemed out of place and unnatural.  When it was pulled, the floor opened up, revealing a ramp spiraling down into a secret cellar.

Inside the cellar

Most shocking of all, a skeleton lay on a bed in the cellar, with a dagger lodged in its ribs.  The group was not quick enough to shield the eyes of their young companion, who trembled at the sight of the decomposed corpse.  Tears rolled down his cheeks as Satyroi cried silently in fear, but he found his bravery and stayed in the cellar, looking through the deceased’s belongings with the rest of the group.

Judging by the magical design of the floor, it seemed that the room belonged to a mage.  The group concluded that the skeleton was male, and that he was a mage, and these were his quarters.  There were books and scrolls found around the room, which gave vague details about the concept of a God Year, a clock designed as a countdown device to the end of the current God Year, and the destruction of the Eighth Isle at the end of its God Year.  An unfinished scroll seemed to be a set of instructions, and made mention of the will o’ wisps.  And there was another scroll that appeared to be a spell.

Owen reads a spell

Owen reads a spell

The spell did not appear to have any effect.  Although there was much information contained in that cellar, it only raised more questions.  Who was this mage?  Who killed him and why?  Where was the Eighth Isle?  What was that spell for?  Where are the seven shrines?  How much time do we have?  And there were certainly questions about will o’ wisps, and why the mage wrote about them.  Owen suggested that he had seen something like will o’ wisps in the graveyard, so Fadrienne, Satyroi, and Korinna went to the graveyard to look while the others remained in the cellar.  Soon, Korinna came running back to the library, urging everyone to hurry to the graveyard and look at what she described as a “colourful ghost.”

Will o' wisp in the graveyard

There, floating above the angel statue, was a blue-and-purple swirl of otherworldly light.  The crystal in Bleizdu’s staff reacted to the magic presence of the will o’ wisp, and emitted its own bright purple glow.  Was this the soul of the deceased mage?  Or did the will o’ wisp come to help guide the mage’s soul home?  Fadrienne retrieved his bestiary from his caravan, and read aloud a description of will o’ wisps.  In addition to guiding souls to peace, will o’ wisps were also known to guide people to hidden treasure.  No treasure was found at the graveyard, however, and everyone remained confused.

Digging a grave

Bleizdu, Cherno, Fadrienne, Willow, and owen dig a grave.

One thing was certain, though; they could not leave the old mage unburied.  Even if it did nothing to help find the elemental shrines or prevent a natural disaster, it was simply the only respectful thing to do.  Bleizdu chose an ideal place to bury the mage’s remains, and everyone began to dig a grave.  While Cherno, Fadrienne, Willow, and owen went back to the lighthouse to retrieve the body, Bleizdu performed a ritual that would help keep the mage’s magic from spreading into the ground.

Bleizdu performs a ritual

Bleizdu prepares the grave with a magic ritual.

The body was carefully lowered into the grave, a few words of respect were spoken, and the grave was filled in again.  It was marked by two crossed branches, forming a temporary grave marker until a permanent stone could be provided.  Without knowing the mage’s name, however, the stone would have to be blank.

The will o’ wisps remained throughout the burial, and still float eerily to and fro above the angel statue in the graveyard.  There is much information to sort through, and even more questions to answer than before.

To be continued.

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Responses

  1. […] To be continued. […]


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