Posted by: Cherno Hazelnut | April 2, 2011

Disaster on the Isles, part IV

One day, Satyroi rushed to tell Korinna about something he found in the graveyard.  As they both ran past the vineyard, Cherno ran after them, to see what was the matter.  When they got to the cemetery, Satyroi pointed at a thistle-coloured fragment of what appeared to be ceramic tile.

Satyroi shows Cherno and Korinna the shard

Mysterious shard under the will o' wisps in the cemetery

Satyroi was afraid to touch it, and Cherno was also reluctant.  Korinna touched it lightly, and when nothing happened, she pried it out of the ground with her thyrsus.  It flipped over, revealing some more strange writing—the same language found on the spell scroll under the lighthouse.  After it was deemed safe, Satyroi picked up the tile fragment and read the spell.  “Abum qätsu ana Tiämat, ellïtamma izakkari.  Amaqutam paräsum iptaras,  taprusï purussûm bi ilum.” Nothing seemed to happen, but they did notice the will o’ wisps were completely gone.  He suggested they let Bleizdu examine it.

Bleizdu and Enorah's home

She was not at home in her caravan, so they went to the mage’s tower (which is the lighthouse) to see if she was at work there.  But along the way, Satyroi paused to look at the children’s treehouse.  The toppled pine tree nearby caused much concern.  Cherno thought it would be dangerous if it fell on someone, and Satyroi confided that the pain of the fallen trees sometimes woke him up in the middle of the night.  He asked if anything could be done for that pine tree.

Korinna as a tree puts the pine tree upright

Korinna in tree form helps the fallen pine stand up again.

Being the daughter of a hamadryad, Korinna has the ability to assume a temporary tree form.  Using this form, she helped the leaning pine tree stand up straight again.  It would require far too much energy to restore all the trees in the Isles, but helping this one pine tree made everyone very happy.  Unfortunately, in tree form, Korinna could not speak.  And though she could move around, it was difficult to do so, and she therefore preferred to stay in one place until the magic wore off.  So Satyroi and Cherno continued on to the lighthouse.

Korinna as a tree

Tree-Korinna stays here while Satyroi and Cherno go to the lighthouse.

Upstairs in the lighthouse, Bleizdu’s crystal ball indicated that she was asleep.  Satyroi placed the mysterious shard on the counter top, and Cherno left a message for Bleizdu with the air nymphs summoned by the crystal ball.  She told Bleizdu that an important artifact was found, and that they would like her to examine the spell written on the back.

Satyroi and Cherno in the alchemist's lab

Satyroi leaves the shard for Bleizdu to examine.

They left the lighthouse and went to the shore where Korinna was soaking her roots.  There they met Fadrienne and Captain Givreroux, who swam across the bay to meet them.

Tree-Korinna, Cherno, Fadrienne, Anthemei, and Satyroi

Satyroi and Cherno told them about the will o’ wisps, which revealed the location of the mysterious shard and then vanished when the spell on the back was read.  Givreroux and Fadrienne wanted to see it, so they all went back to the alchemy lab.

The tile fragment

The Captain had a hypothesis, that this tile fragment might fit inside the hollow outline of a seven-pointed star on the top of the amphitheatre stage.  If it were true, it would mean there must be six other similar fragments.  The parchment and inscribed stone translated earlier spoke of seven shrines to the elements; perhaps the will o’ the wisps had indicated the location of the shrine of the Spirit element, in the cemetery where this shard was found.  If that was the case, the will o’ wisps might have moved to reveal the location of another shrine and they must find it.

Satyroi rushed out of the mage’s tower to search the island for the will o’ the wisps.  He was the fastest of them all, and had the boundless energy of youth, so the others waited for him to return with any news.  As they waited, Captain Givreroux shared her hypothesis that the Eighth Isle was perhaps destroyed because it disrupted the sevenfold balance of the Isles and the elements.  She also hypothesised that the rising waters they had experienced were not a flood—a flood would not cause the level of the sea to rise as well—but rather a result of the island sinking.  Then, Satyroi returned, shouting that he had seen the will o’ wisps again.  Everyone ran after him, including Thyul who had just entered the tower looking for Fadrienne, and they all followed Satyroi to the top of the old waterfall.

Will o' wisps at the top of the waterfall

There they were, drifting and dancing.  Thyul found it interesting, on a personal note, that the will o’ the wisps had been appearing in places of deep personal importance to hir.  Satyroi turned over rocks, looking for another tile fragment.  Cherno dug in the soil of the tree planted at the top.  But Captain Givreroux noticed a piece of tile exposed from the ground.

Anthemei discovers the second shard

Another tile fragment, revealed by the will o' wisps and found by Givreroux

Kicking at it a little, she unearthed it and read the spell on the back.  Promptly, the will o’ wisps disappeared.  Everyone had a good view over the island from where they stood, and with night falling, it would surely be easy to spot the new location of the will o’ wisps.

Anthemei looking through her telescope

Captain Givreroux on the lookout for will o' wisps

“There it is!” shouted Givreroux, peering through her telescope.  “Soaring above the volcano!”

Will o' wisps above the volcano

Thar she glows!

Everyone rushed to the base of the volcano.  A man named Edwardan joined them on the way, and Cern came out of his tent when he heard the commotion at the volcano.  Satyroi, Fadrienne, Edwardan, and Givreroux ignored the dangers and climbed up the mountain peak.  Of course, it was too hot to get close to the top, where the will o’ wisps were.  Givreroux suffered from the intense heat, as did Fadrienne who stumbled and tumbled down the mountainside in retreat.

Gathered at the volcano

There had to be a better way to see what the will o’ the wisps revealed at the top of the volcano.  Givreroux reluctantly mentioned that she could let her evil nature take over her shape, which would enable her to fly.  She almost never used this ability, but as the saying goes, desperate times call for desperate measures!

The demon Givreroux investigates the will o' wisps

Captain Givreroux fully released her demon side, darkening her skin and revealing two leathery demon wings, which carried her up to the top of the volcano to see what the will o’ wisps had revealed there.  She hovered a safe distance from the heat, but she was close enough to confirm that there was indeed another tile fragment on top of the hot lava.  But what could be done to retrieve it?

The assembled party talked long into the night, discussing several possibilities.  The most promising solution was to ask Givreroux to try to use her ice power to freeze (or at least cool) the lava, and then take the shard.  The problem was, Captain Givreroux had not used her ice magic in many years and was very rusty at it.  It was a long shot, but Cern thought it might help if Givreroux had another means of flying, so that she did not have to concentrate on flying and performing magic simultaneously.

Givreroux and Cern on a flying reindeer

Cern flies Givreroux on his reindeer, toward the volcano.

Fly agaric mushrooms grow wild around the Seven Isles, and when Cern’s reindeer ate such mushrooms, he could temporarily fly.  So Cern and Givreroux mounted the deer, whose flight was fueled by psychedelic mushrooms, and approached the volcano.  From the air, Givreroux was able to draw the extra water surrounding the island and cool it to freezing, aiming it at the mouth of the volcano.  To everyone’s amazement and delight, it worked!

Anthemei and Cern on a flying reindeer, cooling the lava.

With the lava cooled, Cern directed his flying deer closer so that the Captain could grab the tile fragment.  Something was special about these fragments indeed, because a heat that could melt rock did not damage the tile at all.  With the sun beginning to rise and her energy quite exhausted, Givreroux returned to the ground and read the spell on the reverse side of the tile shard.  As before, the will o’ wisps vanished to some new location and everyone agreed that it was time to get some rest.

Thyul relaxes with a pipe

Thyul relaxes with a pipe.

But with the water levels rising—as the island sinks in a similar fate to what the lost Eighth Isle suffered—who knows how long they could rest.

Rising "flood" waters

To be continued.



  1. […] To be continued. […]

  2. Magnificent job (it needed saying, again.)

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