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Porthca Landing II: Lost & Found

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Ash-6116

Senior Member
Recognising how distraught Eliza sounded, Tyrius tried to think for a moment. It was true as far as he knew that Azarad would study the wyverns, though what would happen to them in time was anyone's guess. But, it was the possibility they could live somewhere relatively safe in terms of the university would not be using the wyverns the way a group of bandits would versus the certainty of the wyverns dying.

"Azarad's pretty far out of our way," Tyrius pointed out, realising that even at a breakneck speed it was a week of travel and that assumed no interruptions on the journey, "We don't know that they wouldn't hatch before we got to Azarad, they might not willingly be separated from us if they start to imprint and then we arrive and also that's a week The Sea has to murder more nobles in Porthca - including Joane and Robern." pointed out the sorcerer.

Looking to the group, Tyrius said, "It sounds like we've got three basic options. One, leave the eggs here and I shatter them or some of us just start smashing them up. Two, we take and keep all the eggs. Three, we take the eggs, keep some and get the rest to Azarad or somewhere like Eliza said where they'd do no harm to anyone and couldn't be used by anyone to do harm." Tyrius looked to the others, continuing to hold his chosen wyvern close to him as he wondered what option the group would decide on.
 

DevilishEgg

Member
“I admit I don’t know much about wyverns. I guess our plan really depends on how long it takes for their eggs to hatch.” She held up some of the eggs and tried to hide her sniffles. She knew she was behaving like a child but she had always loved animals. She couldn’t bear the idea of snuffing them out for convenience’s sake.
 

NotHaruka

Member
A minute prior, Virra might have felt inclined to contribute to the discussion in a helpful way. Now, however, she was halfway to sulking. "You've heard what I think," she said, folding her arms where she sat. "What we've found is special. Destroying it because some of us can't think of anything better to do with it is stupid." She leaned back against the side of the cart, glancing off at her chosen egg. "We've got a minute to a month before these hatch. Why not face a little risk and take all of them until you figure out what you want?"
 
Afternoon of the Sixteenth Day | Edge of the Faded Knoll Forest:

Abrahms

One Thousand Club
Evening of the Fourteenth Day | Wyvern Cave:

After much deliberation the party seems to finally come to agreement: seal the cavern. Those who collected their eggs get one last look at the others still resting in the nest then silently return to the entrance where Tyrius casts his spell, causing the ground around it to crumble and collapse, falling into a pile of rubble at the entry.

Egnaro rubbed against Niradnam's ankles as the scholar stood watching, the egg he'd decided upon cradled in his arms. "For better or worse, a decision has been made. It may be silly, but I do feel bad for the eggs left in there which will likely never hatch. As such I think we should swear to be responsible with those we have taken, assuming they hatch." He turned to look at the rest of the group, the lilac-green eyes going across each party member, "Wyverns are dangerous creatures regardless of what we hope to manage with training." Tilting his head down at the object he carried, "... and we need to be ready to potentially kill these if they prove too wild. We can't place others lives above our desire to have a special pet."

Silent for a few moments more, Niradnam seemed to chew his lip before shaking his head and following the rest of the group up the sandbank and back towards the wagon where the horses and the plunder sat waiting.

Slowly getting the wagon back on track, there's not much daylight left for travel as the party makes camp once again, now joined by various Wyvern eggs across the group.

------

Afternoon of the Sixteenth Day | Edge of the Faded Knoll Forest:

The prior day spent in uneventful travel, Niradnam eventually glanced up from his reading at the more and more common shade, pulling himself to standing in the wobbling wagon, his Wyvern egg in a strange portable nest he'd turned his pouch into. Grinning, "Alright -- we're finally almost there. These woods hide the entrance to the Thief's hoard." Reaching for one of his various journals he flipped through pages for notes, "We need to look for ..." he went back and forth on a page, following a sentence from one to the next, "...the Heart of the Woods, another supposed 'stolen' thing." The scholar messed with his hair as he thought, "I will admit due to age of reference material, some versions of the tale were spelled H-A-R-T instead of ... like a beating heart, but I don't think that's right."

He looked up at the others, "A heart of the woods would be the center right? Or the oldest tree?" Tapping gently on the egg in thought, "Or ... I mean roots can be like the veins of a forest, but they need water ... maybe there's a pond that acts as the heart? Or lake?" Voice lowering he continued to mumble out thoughts as the horses plodded along, likely lost in thought and theories unless stopped or slowed.
 

Ash-6116

Senior Member
Watching the entrance crumble, Tyrius cradled his own red scaled egg to his chest. Walking up onto the cart, the sorcerer was silent for the next few days, just clutching his wyvern egg and lost deep within his own thoughts. He knew rationally what was done was done. It was far safer than risking someone else stumbling across the nest and using the wyverns for whatever nefarious purpose. Though he was having a little difficulty justifying it to himself. Fighting and killing bandits was one thing - that was self defence or defence of other people. Fighting adult wyverns that would have attacked the group if given the chance was along the same lines. Condemning unborn wyverns to death was a different matter. When he wasn't so glum, Tyrius wrote in his diary, though he barely wrote as much as he would have liked, just a few scant paragraphs a day.

Feeling a little better a few days later, though not much as he had barely eaten and only got a little dreamless sleep, when Niradnam came out with his thoughts on what the heart of the woods were, Tyrius thought for a bit, continuing to gently rub the wyvern egg in his lap.

"Hmm, lake sounds promising." said Tyrius, "and maybe if all the roots are heading towards one spot that could be the heart? Though I doubt we'll get that lucky."
 

NotHaruka

Member
Over the following two days of travel since the wyvern incident, Virra oscillated between moody silence and defiant cheerfulness. Sometimes she lavished attention on the bulky egg that she had chosen and sometimes she acted as though it didn't exist. She still hadn't spoken to Ander or Niradnam about the brief argument, though she continued to laugh and joke with them just as she had before.

When Niradnam gave the group a briefing on what they were looking for in the woods, she got to her feet with a speed that hadn't been present during those two days of inactivity. "All right, so we don't know what we're looking for? That's okay," she said, completely sincere. "We could start by heading to the centre of everything like you said, then try those other ideas. Looking for promising bodies of water." She rubbed her chin. "Or deer."
 

Abrahms

One Thousand Club
Afternoon of the Sixteenth Day | Edge of the Faded Knoll Forest:

Aided by Tyrius hovering over his shoulder, Banrigg starts muttering under his breath, "I know more 'bout water in th' oceans an' seas ... still on th' islands there're trees an' they get their water from somewhere, yanno?" The dwarf wanders around a few of the nearby trees, circling and staring at their roots before turning his attention to the lay of the land. Eventually he gestures in a direction, "That's prob'ly our best bet for water 'round here."
 

DevilishEgg

Member
Eliza watched as if struck silent, as Tyrius collapsed the cave entrance. She felt paralyzed in her indecisiveness. Maybe if she had been more persuasive, or convincing, the group would have paused and listened before condemning the poor eggs.

She stared at the scene and finally followed the rest but opted to ride her pony and stay separate from the others. It took her a few tries to climb aboard Tony, partly because of her lame leg and partly because of plain inexperience but after some effort she was able to hoist herself up.

She stayed ahead of the group over the following few days, keeping her distance even at meal times and when camped for the night. She knew that ultimately their decision would prove to be the wiser choice, but she couldn’t stop herself from resenting them, even resenting this whole trip and mission.

She couldn’t help wondering what the whole point of this mission was. So they wanted to find a way to stop some murders but so what. Wouldn’t what they had done earlier count as murder too? What was the difference between killing a defenseless wyvern egg and another baby?

No, she was being silly. She knew that. And yet...she couldn’t shake the thought of how many young orcs have been dealt with the same way. She wondered how differently her life would have been if her parents hadn’t found her that day.

She rode on like that with her mind in constant turmoil till they reached the trees. She gripped her new wand instinctively. It was time to focus now, there would be time for glum introspection later.
 

Ash-6116

Senior Member
Following where Banrigg was pointing, Tyrius started to wish he'd paid more attention to his father when he was younger instead of keeping himself cooped up in the library. Cuddling the red scaled wyvern egg to his chest, Tyrius still went through a number of potential names in his mind. Every so often, he'd just look down at the red shell and wonder about the little life inside it.

'You're being stupid,' Tyrius scolded himself in his mind, 'Ander was right, in the wrong hands wyverns can be dangerous. The eggs probably won't even hatch and if they do - no parents to take care of them, exactly as Magnolia pointed out. There might be another way out of the cave and maybe Yondalla or one of the other gods will watch over them.' Walking through the forest alongside Banrigg, Tyrius kept an eye out and pointed out when some particularly thick roots pushed up through the ground, making it seem they should follow in a specific direction.

'And Eliza was just as right - the baby wyverns had not done anything wrong.' Tyrius thought, 'And while everyone else argued and eventually agreed on a solution there was only one person who was either going to kill the wyverns fast or slow.' Tyrius took a deep breath, trying to calm his mind down. What was done was done, there wasn't going to be any way to go back now. 'I wonder how dd would've handled it.' thought the red headed sorcerer.

Looking around and seeing Eliza trying to keep up with them, Tyrius asked, "How's the wand working out for you, Eliza?" Clutching the egg to his chest, it wouldn't be surprising if his suit jacket wrinkled with the exact pattern of the scales of the red egg visible on the lapels.
 

DevilishEgg

Member
Eliza grasped the unfamiliar wand with a frown, “It feels rather strange. Like a glove that doesn’t fit quite well.” She had studied it enough the past few days to know what it was capable of and wasn’t happy with what she had learned. “It is quite the powerful wand, don’t get me wrong, but it seems hungry for blood. It only works with ranged combat spells.” Eliza looked down at the object with an upturned nose.

A wand was a very personal thing and Eliza didn’t want to start using such a savage feeling one. She didn’t want to think of the implications of what it meant having any use for it. She was quite happy to ignore any and all future events that would require the use of such a thing.
 

Ash-6116

Senior Member
Seeing Eliza's obvious distain for the weapon, Tyrius wondered if it was like the weapons Niradnam had cautioned might be within the thieves' hoard. Sentient weapons. Tyrius found his mind wandering, imagining what sort of entity could inhabit a wand in the first place. Maybe a long dead wizard emperor who, realising their civilization was falling placed his consciousness into his wand to live on though his mortal body was destroyed. Maybe a wise and powerful witch who did not have anyone to pass on her wisdom to and had instead opted to find a way to pass on her skills through another means.

"Hungry for blood? In what way? Is it telling you to kill people?" asked Tyrius, "Maybe we'll find a better wand for you amongst the thieves' stolen treasure."
 

NotHaruka

Member
With Magnolia lending a second pair of eyes, Virra began to scour the woods for animal tracks. It had been just an off-handed suggestion, but she was sticking with it now; the others could deal with finding water and the geographical "heart" of the woods.

It took a while to find a hint of what she wanted. Where they were visible at all, most of the tracks she picked out were old or short-lived or from the wrong animal altogether. They started to drift away from the group at large as the hunt dragged on, poking under every bush and bit of loose turf until Virra finally came upon a set of genuine hoofprints. "Ooh, ooh, there," she said, grabbing Mags's arm. "Those look promising, right? D'you think we could follow them?"
 
You know mags, just because you are use to playing in the forest and tramping around doesn't mean that everyone else is. Maybe we should figure out a way to turn this into a fun game for Virra, lord knows the poor thing could use the distraction after the whole wyvern situation...

Leaves crunched at their passing, the woods were peaceful to Mags. Racking her brain to figure out how to have some fun with the situation it became apparent Yondalla had the solution. Of course! "Great job finding those tracks Virra! How about we turn finding them into a game? The others won't know we're playing but I bet you dishes tonight we can find a Hart before they find the water, what do you say?"

Giving her conspirator a playful wink and a muttered prayer underneath her breath they set off to follow the tracks.
 

NotHaruka

Member
Virra grinned, and raised her eyebrows so far they almost vanished into her hair. Of all the the members of the group she probably knew the least about Mags, but the halfling was still the most fun to be around on the road. Of course, she never got tired of teasing Ty and Eliza, Valerie had a jokey side to her, and though Virra hadn't been so hot on him lately, Ander was usually light-hearted and indulgent. At the end of the day, though, nothing beat having a reliable co-conspirator to goof around with.

"All right, Shorty," she said, rubbing her gloved hands together. "Let's do it." Quickly getting into the competitive spirit of the game, she took off into the brush after Magnolia and whatever creature might have left those tracks.
 

Abrahms

One Thousand Club
Afternoon of the Sixteenth Day | Further in the Faded Knoll Forest:

While the others stayed by the wagon or sought water, Magnolia and Virra both continued on their way into the forest, following the trail of what they believe to be the answer to the riddle: a hart.

The trail leads them further from the rest, the wagon soon disappearing amongst all the trees as the pair of women find themselves walking around larger and larger tree trunks, the plants and flowers getting thicker and taller. Birdsong echoes out through the branches, a few tiny creatures bolt at their passing, while still the trail leads on.

Until it stops.

Hoof prints lead forward and then disappear at the edge of two large trees -- an ash and an elm, grown so close together that after a few feet of height, they begin to spiral around each other, branches twisted and tied to the other, creating a natural doorway. Looking through nothing appears different, stepping around the trees, the trail doesn't continue either.

---

Banrigg glanced over his shoulder at the pair of spellcasters discussing weapons and shrugged, "That's why I dun' bother with any of that fancy magic stuff -- just give me a chunk o'wood with sharp metal on one end, and dun' need ta' worry." The sturdy dwarf continued onwards, the ground beneath their feet starting to get mushy. Helping Eliza at times to not trip over roots or get stuck in mud, the dwarf eventually comes to a stop, staring at a small puddle of water.

Scratching his chest he thinks for a moment, "... well I dun' understand. This can't be right -- all th' greenery around here an' this is the only water?"

---

Eventually looking up from his notes, Niradnam appeared to realize the party had shrunk to just three others with him by the wagon. He cleared his throat, "Well then -- so much for potentially sticking together." Closing the book on his lap,
"Any of you perhaps care to join me and see if the center of the forest is considered the heart? Or should we just wait for the others to return?"
 
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Ash-6116

Senior Member
Looking at the small puddle in front of them, Tyrius was as puzzled as Banrigg. 'How on earth could this small puddle provide sustenance for an entire forest? There must be something we're missing.' Sitting down besides the puddle and placing his wyvern egg next to him on the ground gently, Tyrius muttered a few words of halfling in order to cast a spell that would let him tell if the puddle was magic, the same spell he had used back in the De'Porthca Manor when he'd encountered Anthol and Sidwae charmed to sleep through an attack on their children. 'I hope Joane and Robern are safe,' thought Tyrius as he remembered them. As it was, the only signs of magic were the items on the party. 'So, that's not magic that I can detect.' thought Tyrius.

Before he could ask if Eliza or Banrigg had any ideas, Tyrius had an idea of what his father would do in such a situation. He might not need to use magic, he had his eyes. Looking around for a large stick, Tyrius grinned, "Let's see how deep this puddle really is." Tyrius said, stabbing the stick into the center of the puddle and expecting to immediately hit the ground. As it was, he managed to put the entire stick into the puddle, even lying flat and holding the very tip. As he did so, Tyrius felt a sudden surge of energy through his entire body. Looking at the puddle, it was suddenly covered in a thick red mat. "Well, that's weird," Tyrius said as he stood up, pulling out the large stick that clearly had a water mark on it showing how deep it had gone in. "Couldn't touch the bottom, and where'd all that red stuff come from? It almost looks like-" Tyrius' eyes widened as he dropped the stick and put a hand cautiously on his head. Where his hair had been was nothing but smooth skin. Smooth, bald skin. "Oh my gods how?" Tyrius said, looking at his own damp hair floating on the surface of the water. Running a finger over his forehead, Tyrius found it wasn't just his head hair - his eyebrows were gone too. "O-kay. So a puddle that shows no signs of magic, yet somehow steals hair." summarised Tyrius, sounding personally offended at the fact the puddle had stolen his hair. "And is deeper than it looks," Tyrius added as an afterthought, motioning at the stick that lay on the ground, "Any ideas Banrigg? Eliza?" Tyrius asked, trying not to sound too annoyed at the fact he'd just lost all his hair and managing to do a bad job of hiding it.
 

DevilishEgg

Member
Eliza looked at her new wand flustered, “No, it hasn’t said anything. It behaved like any other wand when I tried out some of my spells, except when I cast Ray of Frost. It amplified its effect. That speaks volumes about the intentions of its maker.”

The half-orc kept an eye on her footing as she followed the pair through the forest. She tried to keep her voice down as she continued her rant, “Magic is supposed to be this tool that helps and brings joy. To have a magical object’s sole purpose be in harming others...well, it just feels plain wrong!”

Eliza nearly tripped on a tree root but quickly regained her footing with Banrigg’s help. “Off!” She huffed out annoyed as she kept a more careful eye out for any more treacherous tree limbs trying to knock down travelers till they reached the small puddle.

She watched in interest as Tyrius cast his spell and had to stifle down a giggle that threatened to break out. “You don’t look...that bad.” She coughed out.

She kneeled down near the puddle and poked at the red moss with a nearby twig, “Well hearts are supposed to be bloody, I guess. Does your spell say it is magical?” She asked the sorcerer.
 

Ash-6116

Senior Member
Tyrius shook his now bald head, "No, no traces of magic." Sighing, Tyrius unbuttoned his jacket and draped it over his wyvern egg. Unlacing his shoes, Tyrius put them next to the egg as well as he put down his bag and slipped the fifty feet of coiled rope off the side of it. "Guess I'll do it the old fashioned way. The puddle's already stolen my hair, it can't do it twice." Tying the rope around his waist, Tyrius handed the other end to Banrigg, "Keep a hold of this please. If I give it three quick tugs, haul my ass out." Looking at the puddle, Tyrius grinned, "Let's see how deep this thing really is."
 

DevilishEgg

Member
“We are all dying to go for a swim to wash off the grime but let’s not quite jump into suspiciously deep pools willy-nilly.” She said squinting at the puddle, “Let me first try casting detect thoughts.” She followed the now familiar series of movements with her new wand before finally tapping her brain. “It might help detect any monsters dwelling down there. If they were within 30 ft at any rate. It will also let me detect your surface thoughts so hopefully that negates the danger some.”

She looked at her friend with a nervous energy, “Take care now.”
 

Ash-6116

Senior Member
Diving into the puddle, Tyrius let himself sink down, looking around fascinated as he kept descending. Seeing fish that weren't just small but looked as if they belonged in the ocean. Struggling to see, Tyrius focused a little and his vision improved - along with another surge of energy. 'JUST HOW DEEP IS THIS PUDDLE?' Tyrius' voice thundered through his own skull. Seeing a faint object that he couldn't quite make out, Tyrius thought knowing that Eliza was listening, 'THERE'S A SHINY THING DOWN HERE THAT'S JUST OUT OF RANGE. HANG ON. I'LL TRY AND GIVE MYSELF A LIGHT.' Pointing straight down, Tyrius said a quick incantation word to fire a bolt of Fire straight down, trying to give himself light to see by. Instead he managed to blind himself slightly and startle the fish away from him.

Feeling something slimy coating his skin, Tyrius held his hand in front of his face and saw there was some sort of black substance that wasn't water coating his skin and clothes, even underwater. 'OKAY. DON'T FIRE INTO THE PUDDLE. IT DOESN'T LIKE IT.'
 

NotHaruka

Member
Two trees, grown together in a connected spiral with only a few feet of space between their lower trunks. Ordinarily Virra would have just thought it was pretty and left it there, but the tracks of the deer led right to that gap -- and, when the gnome peered around the side to see where they turned next, appeared to trail off at that exact spot.

"Oh, that's magical," she said immediately. "That is so magical. It's between an ash and an elm too, and..." She shook her head, grinning, and grabbed Magnolia's hand. "Jumping through on three, right?" she said, crouching low for a running start.
 
holy crap Mags you were right? How could that have been right? I just figured it would be good to do something while everyone else figured stuff out. Yondalla be praised it actually worked!

Rushing forward with her brazen friend, Magnolia stopped short suddenly. What if this thing will obliterate you as you go through? You should do that thing you know how to do!

"Hold on! Don't rush in yet, I can do this thing to figure out what type of magic it is... It will take me like ten minutes."

are you seriously asking a gnome to wait ten minutes? That's like five years for a person! At least give her something to do in the mean time!


"You are more then welcome to throw rocks, sticks, and other things through while I do this."

Sitting down on the ground she began to pray, "Hey Yondalla, it's me Magnolia, thanks again for helping us find this thing. I know you are super busy being amazing but if you could maybe help a sister out for a minute; what the hell is this thing?" Thanks...

Her thought process trails off as she waits for a response..
 

NotHaruka

Member
Caught off guard when Magnolia suddenly froze up, Virra stumbled to a stop. "Oh, c'mon Mags, live a little," she protested, letting out a scoff as she was asked to wait for ten minutes while the cleric checked to see what kind of magic the gate was hiding. "It's magic that takes you someplace else, obviously! A portal to another world, or a fairy bower, or a mirror image of the woods. I know all about that stuff."

Being told she could throw things through the gap between the trees only made her frown more. "Well, I was gonna do that anyway." Sighing, she moved away to give the halfling some space and gather up a small collection of aerodynamic pebbles and sticks. "Part of what I like about you, Mags," she said, slinging a good-sized twig at the gate, "is that you normally don't tell me what to do."
 

Abrahms

One Thousand Club
Afternoon of the Sixteenth Day | Faded Knoll Forest | ???

Magnolia finished her ritual while Virra threw things towards the doorway, not apparently having any affect on the objects. Clasping hands they went back to the original plan -- running through the entwined trees! And ... feeling as though nothing had happened. The forest didn't look any different, yet before them were tracks once more.

A slightly nagging feeling draws the pair to look back where they see their bodies slumped onto the ground as if they'd been put to sleep right before crossing the threshold. If they stare at their own hands, it begins to become apparent that they're ghostly and transparent, being able to see through each other slightly.
 

NotHaruka

Member
After jumping through the undoubtedly magic portal, Virra couldn't help but feel disappointed at the lack of a reaction. Then when she turned to Magnolia to say as much, she gasped as she found that she could see right through her. She whirled around to find herself and Mags in the flesh, having apparently fallen asleep right by the gap between the trees.

"...Wow," she said eventually. "Looks kind of like we died, huh? Feels weird." She paused. "Hey, that doesn't match up. The deer tracks ended at the trees, but it didn't leave a body. What's up with that?"
 
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