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 Online Recap 31.10.2018: The Halloween Episode

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Slynt
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PostSubject: Online Recap 31.10.2018: The Halloween Episode   Wed 31 Oct 2018, 15:45

Tylendel takes a step into the light, a light spreading from that strange smoke. He feels a sharp tug, a shock to the body, and as if his teeth ice terribly. It’s like he wanders through a painting, as if the air around him resists his intrusion into wherever he is; the smell of iron and blood fills his nostrils. Shadows appear now and then, as if following alongside him on this strange, ethereal journey. He hears a distant whisper, “He is marked…with death….”

Sudden nausea sets in, the grey haze of the world is replaced by a world of flames. He hears a female voice, “It cannot be!”. Then, a violin playing a sad melody. Suddenly, bones crunch beneath his feet. He hears chains rattling, despairing shrieks. Dark spots turn out to be birds, one crow swooping right past Tylendel with an eyeball in its beak, squishing it as a third voice whispers “Welcome”. Children run around in the darkness now replacing the flames, flesh sloughing off their arms, one has his head dangling on his back, throat torn open. It begins to rain - a red rain. People wander around aimlessly in the dark, headless. Cold engulfs his skin. He loses his balance, falling forward, and falls down on rock - a broad road of massive stone tiles pushed into the soggy ground of a fog-ridden mire. Trees with gnarly branches and roots jut up from the fog here and there; massive cliffs rise beyond, and there Tylendel sees a fortress of some kind, with black walls and spires and towers. He also notices a settlement of some kind around the fortress, on the slopes below those cliffs.
Did I just wander through the realm of death? Tylendel wonders.

He begins to follow the road when he realizes that he can use his will to move himself closer - but it doesn’t work, and he is forced to walk. The area around him could have been somewhere in Eras; the nature around him seems fairly normal for a bog, dark pools of water reminding him of the Black Lakes east of the Remheck Mountains.
The road is 7-8 meters wide. Behind him, the wide road disappears into a sea of fog; on the tile just behind him he sees an inscription in the surface: symbols not dissimilar to those he saw around the frame of the hallway entrance in the strange chamber he just left. The air is moist. Tylendel forces himself not to think about whatever he just went through. He hears a crow caw in the distance. The sky is lost beyond the thick gloomy haze.

Walking, he arrives by the stub of a tree, where a figure is busy by a small fire right next to the road. Pools of brackish water glint right off the road’s right side. The figure is cloaked and cowled and busy roasting meat on the fire. A crow is standing on the top of the tree stump. Tylendel approaches.
He realizes it must be an elderly person, and soon sees it’s a woman. Next to her he sees a wooden tub filled with textiles. She takes the meat away from the fire, then picks up the tub and goes down to the pool’s edge. She takes the textiles out of the tub and begins washing them in the dark water - she’s washing clothes while the meat on the stick is cooling off.
“May I join your fire, my lady?” Tylendel asks.
She shrieks in surprise, then turns around, revealing an aged, wrinkled face. Her clothes are dirty, tattered rags; her eyes are red and puffy, and Tylendel sees that they are wet. When she’s done howling, she calms down, looking sad, then shuffles back up to her fire.
“Tichia chitou?” she says.
“Apologies, didn’t mean to frighten you.”
She lifts the sizzling meat on the stick toward him. Tylendel shakes his head.
The old woman comes closer, studying him, pointing with one dirty finger with a long dirty nail at Tylendel’s face. He notices that her robes are spattered with blood. She looks curious as her finger moves closer, closer - to point at the three white marks left behind by the wraith in the Crow-king’s mirror. He lets her trace the marks. Tears begin to roll down her cheeks.
“My name is Tylendel.”
She cocks her head and answers in a strange language. She turns around and walks back to the clothing she had left by the pool. She puts them in the tub and Tylendel notices that the clothes are…his - his tabard, his cloak, his garments…and the pool’s waters have turned red.
She shakes her head and begins to sob as she puts the tub down. She hangs the clothes to dry on the remaining branches of the stub by her fire. Then she goes back to fill the tub with water, returns, and throws it on the fire, extinguishing it.
“Who lives in the castle?” Tylendel asks, but she’s not there.
He decides to continue down the road toward the settlement rising above the mists.

As he walks he hears bubbling waters, slurping sounds as if the trees are slurping the water around them through reeds; he sees tufts of grass rising from the water, boulders rising here and there, some natural, some worked. He hears insects buzzing everywhere. And he thinks he hears the old woman’s cries. The smell of rot is pervasive. Transparent, translucent fungus grows in clusters at points along the road. Eventually, Tylendel arrives at the remains of an old gatehouse rising from the gloom, its remains dark with erosion and age. The murky terrain gives way to firmer ground as Tylendel begins walking up the steep, rocky hillsides.

He enters the ruins of an ancient, abandoned settlement, reminding Tylendel of the ruins on the Eduran Height - the Doomed City, in the Sea of Dust - square buildings, dark gaping maws where doors would have been, narrow passages and buildings so close it feels like wandering through a hive. Roots have exploded through stone; vines climb in, over, and through buildings everywhere. There is no wood left if there ever was in this place, though he sees some iron bars here and there, eroded and black with age. Dripping slime, loose rock, old drainage pipes - this place is truly old and forgotten. The road and adjoining buildings zig-zag up the steeper, higher areas. He passes a deep, wide pit filled with the skeletons of animals of all kinds. What seems like glistening tar covers some of the buildings on the way up.

Eventually he arrives on a flattened hilltop covered in stone - a yard, in front of the fortress gates. While the architecture is unfamiliar, it is not so otherworldly it couldn’t have existed somewhere on Eras, Tylendel decides. In the middle of this plaza before the gates stands an empty plinth. The gates are open. Two crows watch him from the merlons before lifting and flying away. Inspecting the plinth, he brushes away old leaves, twigs and filth to find an inscription carved along its circular base. Tylendel spends a few minutes trying to memorize the arcane symbols.

Tylendel notices a shadow under the arched gateway - a man-like, slow being without a face: a stone sentinel, which stops at the gate, as if telling Tylendel not to enter.
“I wish to see the mistress or the master of the castle,” Tylendel says. The sentinel remains standing, betraying no understanding. Tylendel tries to walk past it and into the castle’s inner yard, but it moves to block him, intercepting him at every attempt, in utter silence.
“I wish to pass,” Tylendel says but still there is no response.

Tylendel manages to sprint past this strange guardian and into the courtyard - the construct is heavy and slow-moving compared to the spry Greyoak. The sentinel’s steps make a grinding sound, the stone tiles beneath its weight cracking as it tries to keep up with the speedier young man from a different world.

Inside, he sees a massive open yard with ancient buildings lining the walls on the inside. The foundations of a central building is still visible. It is hard to gauge what the different buildings’ functions were as everything is overgrown and ruined and, mostly, empty. Tylendel finds the largest stairs he can see, and runs up the stairs toward a dark gaping portal leading into a building. A cat-and-mouse game begins as Tylendel has to explore these ancient ruins while staying ahead of the unrelenting stone guardian that keeps following him, trying to reach him. In this way, Tylendel finds a few interesting areas, though he is unable to understand what he is seeing. He finds a rod covered in symbols and glyphs that comes out of the ground within the foundations of the central building. The contraption seems to be made of umberstone, the material favored by the ancient Brentonni of Eras and, indeed, Tylendel thinks the engravings are reminiscent of the engravings left behind by the Brentonni; and also of some of the drawings he had spied in the Codex of the Lost.

Leading the sentinel in circles so as to continue his explorations, Tylendel enters a narrow tower-like structure where he finds another, similar rod. There are funnels from below the circular disk the rod is attached to, leading outside through holes in the walls. At last he also discovers a massive stone slab, its surface carved with a primitive decoration showing many, many people, their heads bowed toward a looming, stylized figure holding a hammer-like item in one hand and around the other hand Tylendel sees five star-like symbols. Continually evading the stone guardian as it approaches once more, Tylendel says, “You’re annoying.”
Tylendel tries to twist the rod around, but nothing happens. Another crow appears, cawing as it flies in through the building’s opening. Tylendel returns to the foundations outside, the sky red above him. The stone guardian follows him as Tylendel leaves the castle, but it stops at the outer gates. Tylendel concentrates, trying to return to his own world of Eras.

Ghoston of Rúva appears quietly in the doorway, knocking carefully on the door. “My lord Greyoak, are you all right?”
Tylendel says that he is, and Ghoston says that someone wishes to speak to him - Syr Gylian Urunmyst, the Grosskomtur.

Stretching his muscles and trying to suppress the dark adventure he just went through, Tylendel rises. He overhears Gylian and Ghoston talking to each other in the infirmary, so he opens the door and enters.

The first thing he notices, disturbingly, is that the beds seem occupied - by the shimmering, gray apparitions of those who were administered here before they died. He sees Count Ales Malion, Syr Justin of Dust Creek, a golden haired lady, and several other high ranking people who were burned on the pyres of the night of Saint Udolf’s Light.
Syr Gylian, Ghoston and Wilmar, seated at the Moon Knight’s side, do not seem to notice.

“Lord Greyoak,” Syr Gylian says by way of greeting, “I was loathe to disturb you. I understood you were meditating, at the Prophet’s side. But it can’t wait any longer.”
Syr Gylian explains that Esmond II Sollani, the son of Duke Esmond, is dead. He had been practicing archery with the sons of Count Andraw Iker and the sons of Duke Esmond’s other bannermen, having a good time with the Brysk sisters as spectators. Suddenly Esmond felt dizzy and complained of stomach pains. Syr Vilhem Rossyk, the son of Baron Gleb, escorted him to the dining hall, then went to find someone who could help the young lord.
When he returned with the priest, Esmond had found his way to one of the privies upstairs, where he was grunting in pain, asking for help. About half a glass before, Esmond died, a smile of bliss on his face before his eyes went out, seemingly rejoicing at letting the agonizing experience go. The priest had been in no doubt there was poison involved, and Tylendel concludes that it must have been meadow saffron - and links it to the murder of Count Ales Malíon.
Syr Gylian retires to the House of Martial Holies “and the shrine of Calulás to meditate and pray for guidance,” leaving the business of a killer amongst them to Tylendel. Ghoston is distraught and tells Tylendel he is afraid. He brings Tylendel and Wilmar some scraps of meat, and they sit down around a table to eat. Distracted by the glimpse of ghostly figures in the beds, Tylendel looks one more time in their direction only to see the beds empty.




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Online Recap 31.10.2018: The Halloween Episode
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