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Happy Cultmas
Mr. Iverson,

Firstly, I would like to apologize for not getting to you sooner regarding our recent investigations. I am still getting used to communicating with you. I must admit, this is much more interesting than I had expected. I thought I would primarily be the muscle (and I suppose I am), but I have been able to help here and there with some questioning.

Regarding Angels in Harmony. I’m still working through some of what we learned, but I’m honestly not completely satisfied that there isn’t something going on there. As you know, I do not do magic, however, some of my new friends, Kit in particular, tested their magic and it seemed odd that some things worked and others didn’t. Another sort of small thing that I am concerned about is that, if you are caught out of your room at night, they put you to bed and seemingly wipe your memory of that time. They explained that it’s to keep the house quiet, but it just didn’t really sit right with me. There are also the people who just suddenly “leave” without telling their friends or anything, that seems very suspect. Being that I am new, I’m still somewhat uncomfortable saying with 100% certainty whether or not we should continue investigating something, but There does seem to be a lot of suspicious activity. The question, I suppose, is whether it’s standard cult activity or actually nefarious.

I almost forgot, there is another thing that really bothered me. The “elders” live in homes away from the main area, and we were not able to investigate any of their homes. Additionally, there was a terrifying snowman construct that attacked us and I’m just not sure where it came from, but I do wonder if that’s how other people “went missing”

With this cult and the other recent adventures, I’ve noticed a trend of Stygion related activity. I don’t know very much about the stygion and I would like to learn. I was wondering if you may have any insight into it. I will ask my comrades as well, but I wanted to ask you as well.

One last thing...maybe keep an eye on Jax….He REALLY liked Holiday Cultsville.


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Pointer-left Investigator__male_2_thumb
Lhynard
Posted by the GM
Per Multiversum
Chapter 3 — Bridge in the Woods
After leaving the tea house, the path went north and then due west, still lined with paper lanterns, heading toward a forest, which they reached after an hour of walking.

   The trees were of a kind none of them had ever seen before coming to Wa. They were tall and thin, green, and marked with circular bands at regular intervals. In fact, Belvin said that they were not trees at all but rather exceptionally tall grass, which burst forth into leaves at the top. Several of these "trees" had been planted in the courtyard of the Cormyrean embassy, yet, growing here together in thick clusters to form a deep forest, they had an altogether different feeling from simple garden decoration.

   They began to hear the sounds of another stream, and soon they saw that they were approaching a wooden, arched bridge, in style much like the bridge to the tea house.

   At the same time, Kytharrah, who was in the lead, saw a figure approaching on the other side of the bridge, carrying a short spear. The man was armored in a metal conical helmet, similar in shape but not material to those worn by the rice farmers that they had seen earlier in the day. His garb was cloth armor with small metal plates woven into it, which protected his chest, thighs, shins, and forearms.

   Kytharrah tried to make a cheerful grunt of greeting, which sounded something akin to a short bark.

   The man immediately moved into a defensive posture with his spear. He looked nervous, and he called out, "Anata wa dono tamashi ka? Anata wa onidesu ka?"

   Solisar had picked up enough of the language of Wa so far to understand the words. "What spirits are you? Are you oni?"

   "Can you speak the Common tongue?" asked Solisar in Wa-an.

   The man seemed confused at the words but shook his head. "Sosen, watashitoisshoni tatte kudasai!"

   Solisar did not understand all the words, but he was commanding someone to stand.

   Hakam held out the license from the shogun in front of him and boldly approached the bridge. The man stood his ground until Hakam neared close enough to make out the monogata of the Matasuuri family. The man reached out his hand to take the notice and read it aloud to himself, while glancing up periodically at the strangers with a look of surprise.

   He handed back the license to Hakam slowly and said, "Watashi no namae Yoshisato Toyoharu. Anatahadare?"

   "Watashi no namae Solisar Keryth," said Solisar. He continued to name his other companions but paused so that Hakam could introduce himself, as the cleric was particular about his formal name.

   "Watashi no namae Hakam yn Hamdulah el Anachtyr yi Memnon," said Hakam.

   The man now stared awkwardly at them, as none of them knew how to proceed. Solisar noted to himself that the man was not nobility, as he bore no wakizashi or katana at his side.

   "This is just a town guard," said Belvin quietly, having had the same thoughts as Solisar.

   "Step off the trail and let this man pass," Hakam instructed his companions. Everyone did so, and the man cautiously continued on over the bridge and along the trail, glancing back several times as if to convince himself that he had indeed seen this strange band of foreign creatures.

   Now they had the bridge to themselves. They wasted no time in examining the area around the bridge, although they wondered what clues they could find after 35 years had passed.

   Hakam, however, walked down into the shallow stream up to his knees and approached instead a large boulder in the water north of and downstream of the bridge. He placed his right hand on the smooth surface of the rock while clutching his silver holy symbol in the other. Then, he closed his eyes and began to pray. The others figured that he would need some time for a response from his god, so they sat along the shore and quenched their thirst with the fresh water.

   After about ten minutes, they saw Hakam's body jerk unexpectedly. For his part, Hakam, though his physical eyes were closed, saw a sudden vision of a woman's body bumping against the rock as it floated down the stream.

   "What just happened?" Sofi asked.

   "Her body touched that stone," he said, as he waded to the western bank and stepped out of the the water. He walked along the stream south to a triplet of small boulders south of the bridge. The embankment was steeper here, but he managed to lower himself into the water without incident and placed his hands upon each of the large stones, but they had nothing to tell him.

   "I think that she may have been dumped off the bridge," he said.

   He moved through the water upstream a bit more, but the next boulder that he found was also silent.

   He returned to the others and explained his theory that she was murdered on the bridge itself and then dumped into the water, since her body had only touched the boulders downstream of the bridge.

   "Perhaps the embankment will also speak to me," he noted, and he headed along the eastern edge of the water to a four-foot-tall stone embankment where the water bent first left then right.

   Once again, the image of a body striking the surface of the rock came to his mind's eye with a sudden lucidity that startled him.

   No further boulders or rock faces gave any indication of having been touched by Yunoko's body.

   "I suspect that her body did not float much farther than here," said Hakam. "Besides the stones being silent, I doubt that her body would have been spotted from the trail had it floated any farther. I think that we should search the edge of the water from here to the bridge for anything that may have persisted from that time."

   "If it glanced off that embankment there," said Solisar, "perhaps it then drifted to this area over here." He indicated a region where the strange trees grew close to the water. Hakam used a divine prayer to reveal magical auras, and he and Solisar searched carefully close to the water's edge.

   After fifteen minutes of digging through mud and plant matter, Hakam noticed a small glint of mystical light shining from among the roots of one of the strange trees. He pressed his hand into the water and tried to reach the source of the magical aura. With some effort, he finally wrapped his fingers around the object and freed it from the muck and roots.

   Hakam rubbed from the item the filth that had been caked on for decades to reveal a brooch pin. It was silver and engraved with the symbol of a harp within a crescent moon, centered within four stars. He handed it to Solisar, who was more attuned to magical auras than he was.

   "This is not a weak aura," said the sun elf. "The pin bears the power of an abjurer's spells. This is a Harper pin."

   "Almost certainly," agreed Hakam.

   Further searching in that same area turned up nothing else.

   Solisar now tried another divinatory spell, holding up his hand and sprinkling a bit of talc mixed with powdered silver from his fingertips. As the enchanted dust fell before his eyes, the world around him grew temporarily misty, and in his other hand, the silver pin now shared its space with a vaporous copy. The ethereal duplicate, however, was not static; it seemed every few moments to be stretched before almost "snapping back" to its proper form.

   He tried to explain this strange observation to his companions. "This pin is present in both our world and in the Ethereal Plane," he said, "and something or someone is trying to draw it away from here."

   "Can we determine exactly whither it is being pulled?" asked Hakam.

   "I do not think that the signs are precise enough for that, but it is towards the east from here."

   Moving about confirmed this; whatever or whoever was pulling on the ethereal version of the pin was too far from the current location for any change in the direction of the pull to be noticeable.

   Excited by this discovery, Solisar thought it wise to continue searching the area, while the power of his spell to see invisible things lasted. Szordrin, likewise, used the same magic, so that they would have a second set of ethereal-seeing eyes.

   As the tiefling wizard walked closer to the bridge, he indeed noticed something else in the Ethereal. "I see something long and thin," Szordrin called back to the others, "under the bridge in the water, buried under rock and mud, I think."

   "If it, too, is in both realms," said Hakam, "we should have Kytharrah try to dig it up."

   Kytharrah was of course more than happy to have a role to play in their investigating. He splashed into the water and underneath the bridge. The water was deeper here, coming up to his navel.

   "Lunk, dig under the water below me for something long, like a stick," commanded Szordrin.

   Kytharrah dunked himself under the water, held his breath, and began to dig. Indeed, the minotaur felt the long, thin object, which must have been what Szordrin wanted him to find, but he also felt something else strange — fingers, bony fingers. He figured that he would grab them too. He dug the items free and came up out of the water smiling. The others saw that he held a rusted wakizashi and the skeleton of a hand, the bones still held together by sinews somehow.

   The wakizashi was probably well-crafted in its day, and the blade bore markings, but the rust had made the runes unrecognizable, though it was certainly not the monogata of Matasuuri clan. The leather on the hilt had decayed away. They would need to take it to a weapon expert, perhaps, who might be able to clean the blade so that they could try to interpret the runes. The weapon was not magical, but Solisar and Szordrin saw the ethereal copy of the old sword being tugged on toward the east in a similar manner as the magic pin.

   Solisar was more interested in the structure of the wrist bones. "Erevan and Tymora fancy us," said the elf. "This hand was severed below the wrist, and fragments of the ulna and radius are still here, but they connect to the scaphoid and triquetral, respectively, rather than the other way around."

   "What did you just say?" asked Sofi.

   "He means that the hand is backwards," said Belvin.

   "She severed the murderer's hand!" said Solisar with excitement.

   "Was the hand around the sword when you found it?" Hakam asked their minotaur.

   Kytharrah shook his head.

   "We also know for certain now that her murderer was no yakuza," said Leokas.

   "How do you garrote someone with one hand?" asked Hakam.

   "Perhaps he was in the process of doing the act when she was able to injure him," said Solisar, "but it was already too late for her."

   "Or there was an accomplice," suggested Belvin.

   "We have an easy way to recognize the murderer now," said Solisar.

   "Assuming that the hand was not regrown with magic," said Hakam. "Belvin, when one changes form into that of another creature, are missing body parts possible to hide?"

   "No," said Belvin. "Bones and body parts become vestigial or grow from already present parts. When I become a pteranodon, it is my fingers that stretch to form my new wings."

   "So, even if this rakshasa takes another form, we should be able to notice his missing hand."

   Evening was coming. There were still a few hours before dusk, but they figured that making camp a distance from the trail and starting their investigation in Bunden in the morning was a wise plan. Leokas found them a good spot out of sight from the trail but still close enough to the fresh water and under the shelter of the strange trees. They set up three watches, as was typical, and took their rest.
Session: 124th Game Session - Monday, Nov 23 2020 from 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM
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Tags: Chapter 3 , Recap , Wa
Cult Klaussic
Mr Iverson,

We spent some time at the Angels of Harmony compound. The organisation has rather peculiar rules such as a scheduled bedtime for all of its members. I volunteered for some activities which I ended up enjoying some of them like ushering for the ballet. While I enjoyed the structure the organisation provides, there’s something…off about it and the members here, especially Winter and the leader, Klaus. I never trust anyone that seems that nice.

Winter was an annoyance, always following us around like we were children. When he was gone, he never felt far away and I always had a feeling like I was being watched. Bastet had a lead about people going missing but there was no evidence whether the members were leaving of their own accord or something nefarious was happening. The group’s investigation seems to have hit a dead-end and with the safety of the group uncertain in the middle of a cult compound, it was decided that we leave for now.
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Harmony in the Key of Sus
Ivy,

We infiltrated the Angels of Harmony as successfully as we could. I think the group could use a lesson in subtlety. At any rate, there was some suspicious activity. There seems to be memory loss and sleep spells sued on people. It doesn’t necessarily mean that it is nefarious in nature. It just seems odd to someone who has been travelling freely without such a structure for so long. I am enclosing some letters. These are supposedly letters from loved ones of people inside the Angles of Harmony asking the member to come home. I know it’s not much, but if we can track down one or more of these people. It would give us the insight we need to decide whether further action is necessary.

Their leader, Nikolas, told us about his opinion on the Stygian. He proposes that the Stygian is a source of magic, neither good nor evil in nature. As with any other source of power, some would use it for good while others would use it for evil. He also said that followers of the Stygian hate him, and what he does at the Angels of Harmony.

Until next crime,




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Pointer-left Investigator__male_2_thumb
Lhynard
Posted by the GM
Per Multiversum
Chapter 3 — Tea House
The others continued on, leaving Kytharrah to play with the strange creature. As she passed by them, Sofi smiled and waved at the fish-dragon, and it yelled something back in return. Only Solisar could understand the words of course. The elf chuckled to himself, but he did not translate.

   "Does anyone know what that is?" asked Sofi quietly, as they walked away toward the little building.

   "He claimed to be a dragon," said Solisar, "the god of the lake."

   "I thought that dragons had wings," she said, "and breath fire."

   "Perhaps it is a sort of water dragon," said Belvin.

   "There are many types of dragons," said Solisar, "but this is not a type that I have ever encountered or read about before."

   "If it is a dragon," said Hakam, "it is only a baby dragon."

   Szordrin gave himself the ability to read thoughts as they walked. Passing another stone lantern and two gardens of sand and large rocks, the gravel path continued up to the building. Several glowing red paper lanterns hung from the eaves over the narrow porch. They saw that the wooden structure only had three walls. The northern wall was open, but the entry was low, only about four feet from the floor. Within, they saw a woman sitting on a mat before a small tray. She wore a pink kimono with a purple sash. (Solisar noted that the sash had a faint abjuration aura.) She was elderly, but her long gray hair was still full and was pinned up high in a style seemingly common among Wanese noblewomen.

   On her tray was a series of pots and cups, and a metal kettle was hanging by a chain from the ceiling over a square bed of hot coals.

   Just before the wooden steps to the porch and the entryway was a marble basin full of water. A pair of shoes were sitting on the ground before the steps, presumably the woman's.

   "Can you give her our greetings?" Hakam said to Solisar. "Do not step up onto the porch unless you take your boots off."

   Solisar gave a little bow.

   She nodded at them but did not speak. Szordrin heard her thoughts, which revealed confusion and a little fear at seeing the strangers.

   The woman waved her hands in front of herself and muttered some words. Solisar recognized that she was casting a divine spell to comprehend languages.

   "We greet you," said Solisar. "By magic, I can understand your language, but none of my companions can. I was told by the... dragon... that your name is Hina."

   "I am Hina," replied the old woman in Wa-an. "Welcome to my rojo. Are you here to take a rest and enjoy a sip of tea?"

   "That was not our purpose for coming here, but we would be happy to do so if that is either expected or allowed. Please forgive us, but we are not from this land, and its customs are strange to us."

   "In this land," she said, "the drinking of tea is a very traditional and ceremonious affair."

   "We have never participated in such a ceremony," said Solisar, "but we are willing to learn, should you be willing to teach us."

   "Are there any of you who are able to free themselves of stress and find true calm to participate in such a ceremony?"

   Belvin was very interested in tasting the tea, being specialized in herbs as he was, and Solisar and Hakam also agreed to join her.

   "Then come and enter through the nijiriguchi when you feel that you are ready to begin," said Hina.

   The three removed their footwear and placed them carefully next to hers on the ground before the steps. Then Hakam placed his hands in the water basin and began to wash them.

   "This is for washing, is it not?" asked Solisar.

   Hina nodded, and the other two washed their hands as well.

   Next, they slowly stepped up the stairs and ducked to enter the small room. Solisar sat down and sat cross-legged on the floor. The others joined him on the mat in a tight row. They realized that the floor was slightly sloped from each of the corners to the center, so that they felt a subtle sense almost of falling toward where the hot coals heated the pot.

   Hina remained mostly still, observing them. They got the sense that they were missing some key step in the proceedings.

   Solisar gave another slight bow, which was apparently the step that they were lacking, for she immediately bowed back.

   "First, concentrate," she said. "Free your mind and relax. Feel peace." Solisar translated this to the other two, and Hina closed her eyes and began to slow and control her breathing. The three guests attempted to similarly relax themselves. While they tried to meditate, Hina began to quietly reach for her paraphernalia and to prepare the tea. One at a time, she washed each and every bowl and utensil, carefully arranging everything just so and in a precise order. Then, she returned to her own meditation. The only sound to be heard was the sound of the minotaur splashing in the water a short distance from the rojo and the simmering of the about-to-boil water.

   Just before the water in the pot hanging from the ceiling began to boil in full, she removed the pot from its hook and placed it on a coaster. She set to work at preparing four tea bowls and poured the hot water into each. She set a tea bowl in front of each of them on the mat and finally the remaining bowl on the floor in front of herself. She then lifted the bowl from the ground and rested it on her open palm. She now seemed to be waiting for them to respond.

   All three of the guests noticed that she had used her right hand to raise the bowl and had set it in her left palm, so they mirrored this exactly. Hakam and Belvin were also careful to then rotate the bowl in their palm. Only Hakam observed that the rotation was a quarter rotation in the clockwise direction. He noticed that Hina gave him a gentle smile as he did this and nodded to him.

   Hina now raised the bowl to her mouth and sniffed the tea before drinking it. They followed her lead. Belvin took in the strong aroma and recognized immediately that it was a very high-quality sencha tea, and Hakam recognized that this was a very similar tea to what the Shou Embassy of Bral had offered them. Hakam bowed at her yet again.

   She finally took a sip and then drank all of it. They did the same. It was delicious tea, some of the best that they had ever tasted. Belvin was particularly impressed.

   She now set the empty bowl down on the mat in front of her. The guests noticed that she rotated her bowl back by a quarter turn. Once they had rotated their own bowls, she leaned forward to take them back, and she began to slowly wash each bowl in turn and return them to their original positions on her tray. The guests sat patiently for her to complete her task.

   When all was arranged exactly as it had been at the beginning, she gave a final bow, and they bowed back.

   "Very good," said Hina. "With a little more practice, you will have the ceremony down perfectly."

   Solisar passed on her approval to Belvin and Hakam. This was followed by an awkward silence. Hina said nothing further, but they could not tell if she was meditating or waiting or if the ceremony was fully complete. Leokas, Sofi, and Szordrin, having waited in boredom outside during the actual ceremony, now stepped closer to hear if any conversation might begin. (Ferry hopped from Szordrin's shoulders and ran off to bathe in the sand of the rock gardens.)

   Solisar said, "Thank you for the wonderful tea. To get right to the reason for our coming to you, we are here to investigate a murder that happened here roughly 35 years ago. We were told that a body was found near a bridge on the way to the village of Bunden, and this is the first bridge that we have crossed coming from the city."

   Hina looked deeply and intently into each of her guests' eyes before answering. Belvin and Solisar could tell from her facial expression that she knew exactly whom they were talking about. Szordrin could hear her debating with herself whether she could risk trusting these strangers from another land.

   Hakam sensed her hesitation and removed the shogun's license to show her. "We have the shogun's express permission to investigate this matter."

   Ordinarily, that would make me trust you less, thought the old woman, but she said, "Ordinarily, I would not so easily trust strangers at my rojo, but you have tried your best to follow our people's practices while accepting my hospitality graciously." She paused for Solisar to translate and then looked directly at Hakam. "You, I sense, are an especially honorable man, and I can see that you have allowed any stress that you had carried to flow off of you upon crossing the nijiriguchi."

   Then she said, "Since I have decided to speak more fully with you, let me make it easier for all of us." She gave a short prayer, and afterwards, everyone could hear her words in his or her own native tongue.

   "Tell me more about the murder that you are investigating," she said.

   Hakam asked for the picture from Szordrin, who handed it to him to share with Hina. Upon seeing the portrait of Onran's wife, an obvious sign of recognition was present on her wrinkled face.

   "Poor Yunoko! She saw me the day that she died. I may have been the last one whom she saw in life."

   "The gods of fortune, then, have brought us here," said Solisar.

   "It is fitting that you speak of good fortune," Hina replied, "for I have seen your other companion through the window before you approached, the young oni. How fitting that it is Ji Chou, the year of the bull and the year of earth. I foresee that this is a special year for him, when earth and bull will meet."

   She seemed almost to be staring beyond them as she spoke these strange words, reminding Belvin of the druidess Yashiera. Hina then returned to the original topic. "Fortune also may be for the rest of you, if my words can assist you in learning who truly murdered her."

   "What can you tell us about the day that she died?" Hakam asked.

   "She had been having nightmares," answered Hina. "She came to my rojo for peace and calm, while on a journey to Bunden. Young Yunoko would always stop at my rojo, both when coming and when going from the city, for she lived beyond Bunden. On this trip, she was to stop at Bunden and not continue to her home, so the journey should have been shorter. It was only when nearly ten days had passed and she had not returned that I realized that the rumors of the death of a young woman along the road were about her.

   "I had told her that I would ask the spirits if they knew what might be causing the nightmares," continued Hina. "Too late did I hear from them that the Lady of Compassion believed that Yunoko's life was in danger from a fiendish tiger spirit."

   "It is as we suspected then," stated Hakam.

   "What do your words mean?" asked Hina.

   Hakam summarized their theories about how a rakshasa had killed her. Hina wanted to know why their group was interested in an ambassador to a foreign land, and they explained Yunoko's connection to Szordrin.

   Hina seemed content with their answers. "Beyond this minor revelation about the Lady's concern, I know little else. I was never even able to warn Yunoko before it was too late. I was going to tell her when she returned to me."

   "Have you yourself ever encountered such a tiger spirit?" asked Hakam.

   She had not.

   "It is possible that he was disguising himself as the Emperor Kando."

   She chuckled. "No emperor has ever visited my humble tea house."

   "Do you know what her business was in Bunden that day?" asked Hakam.

   "I know that she needed to speak with the yakuza for diplomatic reasons," said Hina. "I remember her telling me that a man from Faerûn had been beaten and left for dead near Bunden, and she needed look into the matter."

   "Did the man die?"

   "I think that the man lived, but the conversation, as you know, happened several decades ago."

   "Are there many Faerûnians in the area?"

   "Her husband was not from Wa. I do not know what became of him. Beyond her husband, no, people from your part of the world are very rare to see."

   "The shogun informed us that thirteen yakuza were executed for her death," said Solisar. "Their bodies were left along the road as a warning. Do you know where they were hung?"

   "It must have happened closer to Bunden," said Hina. "My own minka is between here and Uwaji; I never saw these person's bodies."

   "Do you know the number of bridges on the road?" asked Hakam.

   "I do not, but streams are more frequent as one continues into the foothills. I do not often travel beyond the two sunazetchin outside these doors. I only ever visited Bunden once during the Double Seventh Festival when I was a young maiden. People in Wa do not travel often. In fact, the laws forbid us to do so without the permission of our lords."

   "We think that we may have encountered Yunoko's ghost two nights ago," said Hakam. "Do you have any idea what might be binding her spirit to our world?"

   "I am told that the Spirit World is much closer to the realm of mortals here in Wa than it is whence you all come in Faerûn. Spirits of the dead are everywhere present here. It is an honor for our ancestors to be allowed to live close to their families after death. We respect such spirits and seek advice from them. I myself speak regularly to various ancestor spirits and nature spirits to ask for guidance.

   "Our shukenja teach us that a recently departed spirit must travel the River of Three Routes, which guides it to its final resting place. For those who have lived an honorable life, that final resting place within the Spirit World is often parallel to its ancestral home here on the mortal plane. I would thus have expected Yunoko's spirit to visit her family's home in Iiso, which is south of Uwaji. Your words make me fear that something prevented her spirit from finding the River."

   "Do you think that her spirit may be retracing the steps that she made on the final day of her life?" asked Hakam.

   "It is possible," said Hina. "Sometimes, severe events are thought to prevent a spirit from finding the River, such as a murder before a victim can experience womanhood or dying before completing an important task or fulfilling a sworn oath — things that go against the divine and natural order established by the Celestial Bureaucracy."

   "Such things are said to likewise prevent spirits from reaching their final destination in our stories also," said Solisar, "although it is a place called the Fugue Plane where spirits wait, instead of a mystical river."

   "I wish that I could be of more help to you," said Hina. "I felt for Yunoko as if she were my daughter. I shall pray that her spirit may be freed. Have you tried communicating with her spirit?"

   "How could we do this?" asked Belvin.

   "I assume that some among you are workers of magic; have you no means to communicate with the dead?"

   "None of us are necromancers, no," said Belvin.

   "My god prevents me from accessing certain magics involving the dead," explained Hakam.

   "I can speak to lesser spirits," said Hina, "but only to those that are nearby. However, I am not permitted to enter the city without my lord's permission."

   "In her room at the embassy," said Hakam, "we found a chess board, a calligraphy set, and a parasol. Do you know if any of these items were of any particular importance to her."

   "Yunoko was highly educated," said Hina, "trained in the ways of nobility. She knew poetry and the arts of calligraphy and tea ceremonies, high crafts. She was an elegant noblewoman. I do not know, however, if the items that you mention would have held a strong emotional connection with her beyond death. It is true, if this is what you are implying, that a spirit can usually only materialize in a limited area of some importance, in the same way that the spirit of a tree is bound to the region of a tree and lives parallel to that place in the Spirit World."

   They all suddenly heard Kytharrah give a sort of yelp. Leokas, who could see the minotaur from where he stood waiting outside Hina's tea house, informed them that the minotaur was fine and simply playing still with his new friend.

   "Leokas, Kytharrah is bleeding!" said Sofi.

   "He is fine," Leokas repeated.

   Hakam asked Hina about this. "Is the fish-dragon dangerous?"

   "Ordinarily, I would say no," Hina replied, "but for the last several months he has been snappy and unusually hungry and generally quick to anger. I do not understand what is wrong with him, but he is not acting like he used to act. While always playful, he had also been calm, peaceful, and very, very shy. It is only by my magics that I knew that he existed at all. He would never hurt a fly, but now he will chew up the plants along the shore of the lake."

   "The rage affects him," said Solisar.

   "He really is a dragon then," agreed Hakam.

   "Oh, he is certainly a dragon," said Hina. "He is a yu lung. They are the juveniles of the dragons of the Spirit World of Kara-Tur."

   "In Faerûn," explained Solisar, "there is a powerful curse currently affecting all dragonkind. It seems that this dragonrage extends to the whole world of Toril."

   Hina seemed fascinated by this revelation. "He is a dragon, so that would explain why he has been behaving so strangely."

   "If this is the extent of his raging," said Solisar, "truly, he must have been good-natured. The evil dragons of our land have been attacking settlements, and even the noblest dragons have been going mad with jealousy and retreating from Toril for relief."

   They thanked Hina and indicated that they should probably continue their journey to Bunden.

   "Would you like to take one of my tea bowls?" Hina offered. "Perhaps it might help you connect with Yunoko's spirit."

   Hakam said that she should keep it for now; if needed, they could always return to her, since the tea house was so near to the city.

   The three inside the little one-room house rose and bowed again and then departed.

   Separating the yu lung Tanoshihire from Kytharrah — literally, Tano was biting into Kytharrah's calf — was challenging, and once the strange creature was back on the ground waddling about on his stumpy forearms, he begged to be taken along with them. "Are you not my friends? Let me come! Let me come!"

   Kytharrah had no idea what Tano was saying, but the minotaur nodded vigorously.

   "We would need some sort of container of water," Solisar said to the others in Common.

   "I can shape us a large stone vase," said Hakam, "if the minotaur is willing to carry it."

   "I could shape one of wood," said Belvin, "but not today."

   "Can anyone enlarge my mug?" asked Sofi, but no one had a spell that could do that.

   "We could invert a bag of holding," said Szordrin.

   "We would not be able to use it any longer," said Leokas.

   "Kamil could carry the extra items," said Belvin.

   "I have not had a friend in ten years!" said Tano. "This is so great. Great, great, great!" He sort of danced around in a tight circle.

   "If we do not have a spell to make a container for him now," said Solisar, "we know that we will be coming back. Let us just tell him that we will return tomorrow, when we can make him a container for him to breathe and that he can come with us then."

   This was agreed upon, and then they had to explain this to both minotaur and carp dragon, which was challenging. Tanoshihire did not take the answer well, but he did not take out his anger on any of them at least. He instead stomped down to his lake like an angry, pouting child and splashed into the water and disappeared.

   As they headed north along the main trail, Tano poked his head out of the water one last time. "You better not be lying!"
Session: 124th Game Session - Monday, Nov 23 2020 from 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Viewable by: Public
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Tags: Chapter 3 , Recap , Uwaji , Wa