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Subterranean

The Saikland Greens cleanup of the corrupted glass has been completed, though not without revealing even more mysteries. Growing beneath the blackened glass is a curious and previously undiscovered species of moss. But how could it thrive under such conditions? What, if anything, does it do? Is it a good moss, or a bad moss? These are the questions that need answers.

Date

Aug. 10, 2019, 8 p.m.

Hosted By

Reigna

GM'd By

Reigna

Participants

Petal Ian Miranda Lucita Mirk Sanya Julian Jasher Olivia

Organizations

Location

Outside Arx - Lyceum near Saikland Greens - Blackened Sandy Shore

Largesse Level

Small

Comments and Log


Petal gets twilight wildflower leather hood from a wooden armor stand.

Petal gets twilight wildflower leather jerkin from a wooden armor stand.

Petal gets twilight wildflower leather pants from a wooden armor stand.

Petal gets twilight wildflower leather cloak from a wooden armor stand.

Petal gets twilight wildflower leather sleeves from a wooden armor stand.

Petal gets twilight wildflower leather gloves from a wooden armor stand.

Petal gets twilight wildflower leather boots from a wooden armor stand.

Petal gets Warm sky blue leather cap with fur trim from a wooden armor stand.

The trip to this stretch of Saikland's beach is pleasant and mostly unremarkable. The sailors seem in good spirits as the ship follows the coast line. The weather is glorious with a hot summer sun, bright blue skies and a sweet ocean breeze that keeps things from being swelteringly hot. As the ship approaches the nearby docks and the party disembarks, there are a few exchanges, mostly muttered words overheard in passing, that stand out. A number of people are speaking about a 'Veronica' that has run off, her husband and small child reeling from the nasty surprise of it. There are other, darker rumors as well, though those seem to be especially hushed, a few wary glances cast to the assemblage of peers and their compatriots. A cluster of horses and a pair of wagons are being packed up to complete the journey. There would appear to be about an hour or so to explore this small port village while things are completed. The day is still relatively young, the beach a good seven miles from the port, but there is a clear road and the party should easily get there well before dusk.

Petal is along for the trip while adorned in seldom worn blue-gray wildflower armor and while carrying along a sewing basket that is stuffed with things. She has hairpins in her chestnut locks and a bow strapped to her back. The girl got off the boat with the others. "I don't know how to ride very well, if all." she admits a bit sheepishly. "It is said that the child's mother ran off. I hope this Veronica is okay." She murmurs.

Many questions might occur to a person about Ian's presence as a part of this group. Questions like: What is that hideous length of knitted wool that he has looped loosely at his belt. Is it a scarf? In the summer? And most importantly: Why, oh gods why, does it smell so bad? There also might be secondary ones (at least from those who don't know him) about what he thinks he's doing here and where his sword is and if he can even fight, but the scarf is the kind of thing that blots out such considerations with it's sheer... scarf-ness.



After disembarking, Ian's primary consideration seems to have a lot less to do with the dark rumors flying around, and more to do with security. This is probably just a long learned and reinforced habit, but someone paying attention might notice the way that he scans the area, first at ground level and then at rooftop level, noting the movement of the crowds, directions from which they might be approached without him seeing, directions that would be good for making an escape, places that are well set up for an ambush. It's doubtful that he expects trouble, but some habits are hard to break.

The ride on the ship is a relaxing ride for Miranda. She spends the days on it singing funny sea chanties (shanties?) that she's learned from somewhere. She bothers the crew during their off time to help her learn new knots and things and teach her this and that. She's a great passenger. Loves the motion of the ship and even picks up a few new songs thanks to the crew. Fortunately, while the songs are a bit questionable, her voice is decent and shows she's had some teaching. No one's ears burst or hurt because of it.



Miranda takes in the various stories, taking the time as things are getting tended to get a feel for the climate here. A few questions are asked after this Veronica person. Why would she go? Any indications as to where she went or reasons? And then she inquires about the darker rumors. Gentler inquiries out of curiosity, but perhaps... interest. Never want to be surprised. She also has an eye out for trouble, but a little less obviously than Ian, it seems.

Lucita eyes the supplies being loaded. Tents, bedrolls, crates of food and medical supplies, fresh water and the like. "They should be used to doing this by now. This is our fourth trip to the area to work on that stretch of beach. I've been wanting to see how the clean up efforts have been going. There have been no reports of any ... odd... animals that evaded the hunters as yet. She hauls a pack with her off the ship as she glances around, it holds basic exploring supplies that have come in useful in the past. She moves over to speak with some of the people loading the wagons, her manner amicable and aimed toward putting them at ease enough to catch her up on news of the area and any 'rumors'.

Mirk Halfshav has accompanied the team to Saikland, sweltering in his traveling leathers, though at least the direwolf fur cloak has been replaced with something lighter. He's acccompanied by Aegis, a russet red bloodhound that is more attentive out here, falling easily into the role of guard dog. He listens attentively to the stories shared with them, a look of empathy on his face, and he mentions to Lucita, "True, but most of them involved smaller teams, as I recall it. Are you sure we found all of the tainted animals, though?"

Sanya Grimhall does seem particularly interested in the rumours going around. Combat not being a specialty, she is lightly armed, her weaponry sheathed to her blond hair. She approaches Lucita, adding her voice if necessary to gain information from the people she talks to.

Julian is there too. Quite close to his Baroness, of course. He glances over to the child and father before leaning over to Lucita, "I am gonna go see what is going on Baroness. Maybe we can help these people while we work."

Mirk checked charm + empathy at difficulty 25, rolling 28 higher.

Julian checked charm + empathy at difficulty 25, rolling 14 lower.

Petal checked charm + empathy at difficulty 15, rolling 8 higher.

Jasher accompanies the others, only a line of sweat on his brow to express his discomfiture. He busies himself while on the ship, seemingly less tolerant of having idle hands than uncomfortable heat, and when he disembarks he will accompany Lucita, though at a polite enough distance in the hopes that his presence would not be too offputting. He will simply listen in, though.

Jasher checked perception + stealth at difficulty 25, rolling 8 lower.

Olivia checked charm + empathy at difficulty 25, rolling 37 higher.

Petal makes an attempt to speak with the locals. The girl has a heavy Northern Shav accent and no empathy to speak of. This might not go super well. She even speaks Arvani a a second language and struggles with some words, pronouncing and using a few wrongly.

Lucita checked charm + empathy at difficulty 15, rolling 51 higher. Lucita rolled a critical!

Olivia makes her way with the group, all the while checking her medical bag to make sure she is well stocked for the trip ahead. She looks up with a frown when she hears news of the woman who had 'run off'. She gives up on her checking of her supplies and heads over to see if she can offer any help.

Sanya checked charm + empathy at difficulty 25, rolling 50 higher.

After talking with Aleas briefly, Miranda asks him what the fight with his wife was over. Also, she will ask around to see if anyone saw her after that fight, where she may have gone. Had she been acting funny at all before? Favorite places to go, that sort of thing. She's here for a purpose, Miranda is, but if they can look into Veronica's disappearing act while here regarding the moss, she will be glad to. Also, while others might not be asking the daughter anything, Miranda will crouch to her level and, if she's old enough, ask the daughter if she saw her mother leave?

Lucita gives a little shake of the head as she listens to the man's tail. She gives a sidelong glance to Miranda who is near her and says to the group she is with. "We can keep an eye out for her as we head toward the south along the beach, see if we spot where she may have camped or left some sort of sign of her passing." She looks toward the man. "The village and outlaying farms have been checked already? No one knows what direction she went?"

Petal makes her way over to the sailors along with Mirk and Olivia. She looks a bit pink cheeked. "It sounds like a troubled marriage. Maybe she just well wanted to get away?" She ays to Olivia and Mirk after overhearing the sailors. The girl then looks to Lucita when she rejoins the group. "No idea where she went to."

Ian keeps his focus on the surroundings. While the others spread out to follow up on rumors, he's keeping an eye on the moving of supplies off of the ship and onto the wagons, while also doing his best to keep the scattered group in his sights.

Mirk converses with the sailors, for a moment, and then glances aside at the others. He doesn't seem shocked by the way sailors talk, and instead mentions to Lucita, "Might not be entirely unnatural, her departure. Apparently, she and her husband were not happy together. Though why a woman would run away and leave her daughter behind, if it was a mere escape..." He shakes his head, having no explanation for that, at least not one that he'd be willing to propose in front of actual parents. "I'm skeptical, but it's possible," he confirms at Petal's questino.

Olivia scrunches her face a little as she follows Petal back over to the others, considering the things they heard, "I can not imagine a mother just leaving their child like that."

A gentle smile is offered to the people by the wagon, the Grimhall not wanting to overwhelm them by bombarding them with questions. Taking a step closer to them when she senses an opening, she furrows her brows with concern. "Has this happened before. Does this seem like something she'd have planned to do?" She asks, either family member.

Jasher just listens as the others speak, not willing to touch into the matter of potential marital issues.

Petal look over to Olivia and hmms softly. "You make a point." She says in her direction.

Miranda offers to Olivia, "Not every mother lovers her children, my lady."

Lucita slips out of hearing of the child and the father and tries to see if anyone else has further information, someone sighting her leaving or buying supplies or someone with her. She tends to stay where Julian and Ian and Jasher, one or the other, have a clear view of her. As she passes by some of the other women she says. 'Even if she left the child behind, seems she might have left someone to keep an eye on she and the father. That is if she was a responsible parent. Maybe we can find out more?

Miranda's questions get uncertain answers. "Vero loved the ocean. She'd walk the beaches and was so glad that they were safer than they had been. She used to climb up on rocks and just watch the sea." Aleas continues that he's searched everywhere, spoken to her family up north but no one has seen her. One passerby coughs and says, that they spotted her twelve days ago, heading west along the coastal road. The same direction the group is headed.

Ian looks up at the sky, possibly adding 'keep and eye on the time' to his list of things to pay attention to.

Having conversed with a few of the folk near the wagons, Sanya returns to the group with a somber expression. "Those who knew the couple claim that they were in love, the type of love that can withstand trials it seems. They believe something bad must have happened." Her voice is lowered.

Miranda returns to the group and offers to Lucita, "Probably a good idea if we keep an eye out for her, or her tracks, as we proceed on our way, Baroness." She shrugs, her advice given.

The wagons are loaded, and there are benches for those who are unsteady riders, while five horses have been readied for those who don't mind the saddle.

Petal hmms softly. "The sailors told us they always fight, but...I don't know, they might have a biased viewpoint."

"Then perhaps we'll see her on our way," Mirk says with a dip of his head. For himself, however, he makes no move to claim one of the horses - he instead helps Aegis up into one of the wagons, a grimace of effort at the sheer size of the dog.

Julian looks around and then down the road, "Either way, we can be on the look out for anything strange on our way. Can't hurt."

Lucita says, "We should not be many days at the area of the shattered glass and moss found growing under where the cap was." She sees those who wish to ride the wagon have help getting up into them and settle as comfortably as possible before mounting one of the horses. "We can look along the way and back and check if any news of her when we return.""

"That sounds good." Petal says toward Lucita. The girl tries to take a spot in the wagon, having admitted she doesn't know how to ride a horse.

Miranda will take a horse and share it if need be with a less experienced rider. She is comfortable enough. She does slip her cloak over her head, to provide shade from the sun.

Julian grunts as Lucita mounts a horse. Not something he had ever really learned. He has always preferred wandering on foot. "I'll be with the driver of the Wagon if you need me Baroness."

Ian takes a seat in a wagon, no surprise there.

Olivia eyes the horses warily and climbs up in to a wagon.

Joining Ian on the wagon, Sanya looks contemplative, as if still pondering what she's been told.

Julian checked perception + survival at difficulty 25, rolling 17 higher.

Petal peeks over to Olivia and Ian as they join in the wagon, giving them both a smile.

Puff, a dainty yellow-green canary arrives, delivering a message to Petal before departing.

Ian checked perception + survival at difficulty 25, rolling 34 higher.

Lucita checked perception + survival at difficulty 25, rolling 1 lower.

Mirk checked perception + survival at difficulty 25, rolling 5 higher.

Jasher looks at the horses, then at the wagon, and reluctantly moves to join the others there. Evidently, he either doesn't like riding, or is a poor rider. Still, he studies the trail as he enters.

Once everyone is readied, in wagon or on horseback, the journey begins. There has been no rain in the last few weeks, the weather warm and mild. The vegetation here is somewhat sparse, given the road follows the coast fairly closely. Dry grasses, a smattering of wildflowers, some prickly brush and palm trees. Those keeping eyes out do see signs of someone having come this way, making no attempt to disguise their trail. Female, tallish, the footsteps are powerful at first, as if walking with purpose or anger, though as they go they get less impactful and finally seem to return to an almost leisurely pace. The trip towards the beach is not overly long, about an hour and fifteen minutes until they reach the rise that leads down to the center of the once-blighted area. Those tracks stop about thirty yards from their stopping point, signs of a scuffle, though the details are difficult to make out in the sandy soil.

Julian hops down off his post on the wagon to inspect the tracks of the scuffle. He kneels down trying to make sense of it. The expression on his face a little grim.

Olivia climbs down out of the wagon with a big ol' smile on her face. Lifting her hand to use it as a visor to block some of the sunlight as she begins scanning the area for mosses.

Ian doesn't pay particular attention to the tracks walking parallel to their direction of travel, probably more interested in looking for signs of an ambush, wild animal tracks, or similar potential trouble. The scuffle gets his attention, though. When Julian stops the wagon for a closer look, Ian carefully clamors down as well. Rather than focus on the scuffle, he circles it.

Hopping off the wagon as the others do, Sanya raises a brow as the men seem particularly interested in the sign of scuffle. "What is it?" She asks Ian, gently.

Lucita is rather oblivious of tracks and scuffles, she is trying to keep an eye on everyone and manage the unfamiliar mount that seems to have a mind of its own and takes constant work to either get it to move or to stop it from moving off to the side to grab a mouthfull of drying grass. Once the battle between Lucita and the horse is done, it is behaving properly and obeying her commands, it just took a long while for the stubborn critter to behave. She simply asks. "You found something? Can you tell what happened?"

Ian is looking down at the ground with a puzzled expression when Sanya comes to see what he's looking at. "Attackers came from this way. There were a lot of them, or else a few with a lot of legs." He sighs. "Don't think they're human." There's an odd note about the way he says that part -- a mix of disappointment and apology? "I think they dragged something off that way --" Another gesture with his cane. "But it was too light to be a body."

During the hour plus ride, Miranda's gaze focuses here and there, sometimes losing focus as she looks off in the distance. No one thing seems to draw her attention. She is a quiet rider, really. Once at the beach, she again pauses to look around, sliding off her horse to continue looking about. She pauses, standing still and making a slight face. As she stands there, her expression shifts. Her brows furrow and she swallows and frowns. She does look to the tracks, but then slowly turns in a circle, walking it slowly as her hand moves to her stomach. "Stay close everyone," she offers before sniffing.

Petal slips off the wagon. The girl looking a bit concerned as she hears Ian's words. She make sure to stay close to the group.

Julian looks the direction Ian points, "I can go check it out. While people start with the moss, since that is why we came." He looks up over his shoulder at Lucita, to see what she wants him to do.

Mirk lingers for a moment on the tracks, his frown deepening, but then he moves on. Once he disembarks from the wagon, his first priority is less pragmatic and more spiritual: He withdraws a seed from one of the pouches at his belt, and deposits it in the soil, covering it with ashes, soil, and a sprinkle of water from a flask. "In fulfillment of my promises to you, spirits of the beach and forest," he murmurs quietly, and then straightens, brushing off his knees and hands.

Ian shakes his head to Julian, probably missing that look he cast in Lucita's direction. "Not alone. Looking for one missing person is plenty."

Not following her own advice, Miranda walks that circle slowly, then veers off it slowly. She heads for a hill overlooking the beach, removing her alaricite blade to hold in her hand. She looks like she's concentrating for those who might see her expression. As she reaches the top of the hill, she stands a moment, looking at the beach and then staggers, letting out a grunt. She's knocked down to her knees, bowing over and clutching at her stomach a moment. Her breathing is heavy and she groans as if she might be sick.

Miranda wields Kindling, an alaricite curved sword.

Though mostly unperturbed by Ian's mention of non human attackers, a faint grimace can be detected on Sanya's mien. "Thank you, my lord." She nods, before glancing around at the others in case they noticed anything else. "Any sign of where the body did get taken?"

Julian raises an eyebrow and grins a bit at Ian, "My Lord. I have traveled these landscapes for well over a decade, if I get lost I deserve it." He pauses his grin not leaving, "But if someone wants to come with, that is fine, but we need to leave people to protect the moss team."

Ian snorts. "I'm not worried about lost," he says to Julian in a flat tone. Then, to Sanya, he adds: "My guess is that whatever attacked her carried her off in the same direction that it came from." A motion of his cane indicates what direction. "If it'd been a person, I could tell you for sure, but this is a bunch of -- I don't know, if you put a knife to my throat and made me take a guess, I'd probably say giant insects. Either that or crazy old ladies with swords strapped to their legs."

As Mirk speaks to the spirits there is a weakly breeze, something that carries a mingled scent of ocean and carrion. The wind surrounds the Shaman, playing with the strands of hair that have escaped his knot. The charms sing softly before the wind abruptly dies, a cooler temperature left in the wake of it.



The beach itself is changed since the cleansing. The glass is gone, and in its place a purplish moss runs in twisted spirals along the sand. Towards the edge of the water it is a darker shade, a mix of purple and green and so dark it is nearly black where it soaks in the water of the tide. The shapes tease the eye as if it were growing in patterns, but ones too big for their eyes to perceive.

Ian adds, because his player JUST NOW say Miranda's pose and is getting some caffeine, I promise: "If you're messing around with magic right now, it's probably not a good idea." Because Ian? Ian is helpful.

Petal crouches down near the moss, the girl trying to get a look at such. She mostly seems confused so far. She looks fascinated as well. She then peeks to Olivia. "Ever seen anything like this?"

Olivia shakes her head at Petal, "Nope this is a new one to me!" She reaches in her satchel to pull out some jars for samples.

Julian chuckles lightly at Ian, "Well I had not planned on dying either. Thought that went without saying."

Lucita says, "That moss has changed since the glass cleansing. It looked green before, but this... I don't like the looks of it and Julian, best we stay together, some of this group have little ability with weapons and we may need you. And we don't want you to run into anything like we did before not far from here. It ... was horrible.""

Petal checked perception + agriculture at difficulty 15, rolling 42 higher.

Miranda is turning a nice shade of green where she is knelt on the ground, groaning and yet, clutching at her stomach with her free hand. It takes her a moment to sit up, looking like she may just like to throw up and then lie down until she dies. Yup. "It's..." She swallos and then manages, "... tainted.." Must be pretty bad as she's knocked off her feet. She moves to one knee, then slowly up to both feet. It takes some effort before she can join the rest in getting closer, but she still.. well, keeps her distance. She turns Kindling in her hand, warming her wrist, looking for .. well.. something to distract herself with.

Lucita glances toward Olivia and Petal. "Be careful. I've got some metal lined, padded boxes on the wagons if you need them to hold things.

Petal checked perception + agriculture at difficulty 50, rolling 25 higher.

"Then stay here," Ian says to Julian, without any alteration in his level tone. "If you go off alone, you're probably going to die." He paces away, over to Miranda, although he doesn't offer to help her up. Once she's on her feet, though, he lowers his voice to talk to her.

Mirk leans into the wind, not bothering to straighten the knot of hair after its disturbed. "Did you say insects?" He asks, his head canted. "That can't be a good sign..." He meets Miranda's eye. "The spirits are...fighting something in this place. Or maybe that's not the right word. Struggling? It's not just a taint, is it? It's hostile?" He reaches for his bow, stringing it and slinging it over his shoulder, ready for anything in Siakland Greens this time, it would seem.

A mirthless chuckle escapes Sanya's throat at Ian's words. "Is it too much to hope for the latter?" She shakes her head.

Petal lifts her gaze to Lucita, giving her a nod. She then looks to Olivia, nodding as well. The girl continues to study the moss, but she has yet to touch such.

Julian grunts and stands up readying his sword. He nods once at Lucita, "As you wish Baroness." He grips his blade tight and look around for any signs of trouble approaching.

Jasher looks upon the moss, then lifts an eyebrow upon the sight of it. Then while he doesn't loosen any weapons, he does adjust his arms, bulging with the bulk of bracers.

Lucita's eyes widen as she hears Miranda's pronouncement and sees the effect on her. "Any of us know how to heal a bit, to check her over? I was afraid anything that close in proximity to the tainted glass might be... like this. Any ideas how to deal with it? Any ideas on what effects it is having? Julian and I certainly don't want it to spread.

Petal lifts her gaze. "This moss seems to have two pieces to it. One is green and one is purple. Each clump has its own balance and the further the from the water the more dominate the purple hue is. It has an odd and unpleasant smell, like an unclean smell. Maybe one color is healthy and one is tainted?"

At Mirk's words, Miranda's eyes widen, then narrow. She seems to lose her focus again, then shakes her head slowly. "I'm not.. I can't tell." She looks to Ian as he whispers to her and frowns a bit at him. "I'm not injured, Baroness. It'll fade when we get clear of here." She talks a bit quickly, deep breaths in and out. She will not get sick here. Ian has her attention though and she offers, "I am not using magic, my lord." Her tone is polite, but she looks as if the fight to keep the last meal down is going to fail her soon.

Olivia looks at the sample she has in a jar. "Give me a moment? I will see if I can figure anything out that will help stop it's spread?" And with that she sits down with her sample and begins focusing on it intently.

Ian doesn't argue with Miranda, but the look he gives her makes it pretty clear that he's not buying it. He pushes a hand through his hair, then pinches the bridge of his nose. He's careful to keep everyone in view as they spread out, while at the same time picking his way towards the shore in a slightly different direction. He stops at the edge of the sand. "Huh," he says, thoughtfully.

"I can't be certain that it's hostile. All I know is that the spirits are weak, here, fighting...something. It might just be a taint on the land," Mirk says, walking up to the moss and crouching down to have a look. "If it is tainted, then the question is where the taint is coming from. Before, it was the blackened glass. Is there a source like that here?" He looks to Lucita. "What are your thoughts, my lady?"

Julian doesn't really bother with the talk of plants. That isn't /exactly/ why he is here. His sword is why he is here. He stands guard, facing the indicated direction those involved in the scuffle might have headed, keeping watch.

If anyone is close enough to Lucita to hear her, she is muttering various curses, in both ladylike and overheard at the docks phrases at the ruination the black scaled Skylord left marring the beach, endangering her villagers. "Lord Mirk, we did out best and thought the poison and taint was gone, the blackened glass shattered. This stuff... this moss... was hiding under the cap of glass we removed with our efforts. Is it something the dark reflection of Petrichor had here?"

If Lucita's choice of epithets regarding the culprit surprised Jasher, he gives no indication. He continues to look at the discoloured moss, brows furrowed in consternation.

Turning to face Mirk, Sanya looks intrigued at the mention of the spirits fighting a battle. She glances around, likely looking for more signs of the creatures Ian spoke of.

Olivia checked intellect + alchemy at difficulty 40, rolling 16 higher.

Offering, in case it helps, "I felt something on the road. But it's far worse here on the beach than back there." She gestures to the road. Miranda moves slowly, keeping near the group but moving parallel to the moss as she looks back to the beach and even to the clear, clean water.

The sun is working its way across the sky, some time spent in town, some more on the road, and more still spent in studying the scuffle site and now the moss. There is still a good hour of sunlight left, before sunset when twilight begins. Despite the sunshine, the temperature seems to be dropping faster than it should, and as the wind rolls in from the tide, there is a scent carries over the sands. That carrion stench grows stronger, sour and sickly.

Ian scans the shoreline, and then looks up at the sky. "I don't like this. I'd like to find a place to camp that's not nearby."

"We'll find no rest in a place that smells like death." Sanya nods, in agreement with the Kennex.

Jasher lifts his nose to smell. The furrowed brows deepen to a frown. "Smells like a kraken," he murmurs. "Let us find somewhere downwind to rest."

Petal seems thoughtful. "I think we should study a part of the moss that is mostly green and a clump that is mostly purple and see if one section seems less tainted."

Julian glances back to Lucita, "If we are going to sleep around here Baroness, I would like permission to scout and patrol. Not a good idea to camp in an area you know little about."

Mirk crouches down, placing a hand on Aegis to steady the dog, and then draws a deep breath. "I'm not sure we'll find rest, even away from here," he says in a dour tone. "Make sure not to touch them, too much. THe blackened glass had a miasma to it. I'm not sure it would've been safe to handle bare handed, or that this stuff is, either."

Miranda makes a bit of a face, not offering anything new for the moment. She does keep an eye out, doing her best to ignore the stench in the air, the chill, and the sickly feeling she's dealing with. (OOC: afk a couple)

Olivia looks around at several vials she had been working with and chimes up, "Hey so I think I found something."

Lucita nods to Ian. "That makes good sense. I don't like being too close to that stuff nor near that scent. Lady Sanya, Lady Miranda and Lord Mirk, does the camping place we used before seem alright? It is, I hope, away enough to avoid the scent and the area. And yes, we'll need to have patrols and if any scout, it is not to be alone. There are few of us enough here that we don't want our protection all gone if anything happens. I'll have to leave military matters in the hands of those who are more expert at it."

The tide is definitely starting to come in. The rolling waves creep inward a little further with each set. The motion disturbs the clarity of the water at the edge of the tideline, churning sand and those ropes of moss that grow in lines into the water.

Ian looks at Sanya. "This isn't what death smells like." A nod towards Jasher suggests Ian's agreement, at least in general. Then he looks to Lucita: "I think we need to go inland."

Olivia stands up with a vial of green moss in her hand, "So this vial has green moss right? Well it used to be purple... I put some salt water with it and left it in the sun and it turned green... and it stopped stinking." She holds the vial of now green moss out to the group.

Petal looks over at the tideline and then back to the moss, seeming thoughtful. "I am pretty sure that one color is tainted and one color is not tainted. I think probably the purple is tainted, but I hate to assume and both should be studied. We should see if the smell is less with a clump that is mostly green and mostly purple, but we would need to take clumps away from the beach and parted from each other to be able to smell the difference. It could even be..." She says softly. "That some of the black glass was covered by the shore line and is still there tainting the plants?

Petal looks over to Olivia. "So it stops stinking when it is green? That would make the green moss maybe not tainted?" She asks.

"Fair enough, I wouldn't know." Sanya admits to Ian with a faint smile before turning to Olivia. "Do you have enough to do that on a larger scale?"

Miranda offers to Lucita, "The old site should be good. We can scout it briefly to be sure." She rubs lightly at her face, glancing over at Ian and others before offering, "I can do that." She might just want space between her and whatever's making her ill. She backs up a bit, curiously looking at the moss.

Olivia looks out to the sea, "Well I think we have plenty of salt water, I can not provide sunlight myself... The real task will be moving enough salt water to the rest of the moss, and I am not sure if the effects are permanent."

Julian glances to Miranda,

Julian glances to Miranda, "Shall we scout this camp site then?"

Miranda nods to Julian, "It was over here.. not too far, but not right on top of the beach..." She will lead Julian away, to the aforementioned previous campsite.

Lucita nods and starts moving in the direction of the wagons and horses. "We camped far enough away the air did not blow the poison into the camp. Lord Ian, if not dead, what scent is it, have you smelled it before? I'll have to leave the plants to Lady Olivia, Mistress Petal and Lord Mirk. I have no idea about them, so tried to bring those who did."

Petal peek over to Olivia having a gentle smile for her. "Wonderful call Olivia." She says softy to her, seemingly impressed." She then peeks over to Lucitia, nodding in response to her words.

"Sunlight and salt water..." Mirk murmurs, half under his breath, and looks out at the sea. "I can make offerings to the spirits, to see if they might oblige with strong winds that will bring the tides higher, but I can't promise anything. But I don't think that's all there is to see in a place like this, personally. If it were that simple, the spirits would not be struggling so badly."

Julian follows Miranda to scout the potential camp site.

To Lucita, Ian says: "Prince Jasher might have the right of it. It's not too different to how Marin's minions smelled. Less fishy, I think. Short of that, I'd say animal entrails." A look indicates that he's making note of Julian and Miranda going off to scout the campsite, but if he has any further objections, he doesn't give voice to them.

Ian checked perception + survival at difficulty 20, rolling 35 higher.

Petal checked perception + survival at difficulty 20, rolling 77 higher. Petal rolled a critical!

Mirk checked perception + survival at difficulty 20, rolling 5 higher.

Petal looks to the ocean and she sucks in a soft breath. She points to the ocean. "What..what is that.." The girl says. "A jellyfish? A mermaid? A...kraken?"

Jasher nods towards Ian. "Either a kraken, or a corpse pit before the smelling salts come in." At Petal's words, he squints off towards the ocean, straining to see in the darkening horizon.

"Heads up!" Ian barks, straightening up. Raising his voice to a truly impressive bellow that suggests at his years of command experience, he yells to the people taking samples: "GET AWAY FROM THE WATER!"

Petal adds. "It has a human face, seems boneless and is moving." She stammers, still staring at the ocean all wide-eyed.

Miranda stops moving away when there is a call out. She looks back to the group and then to Julian before hurrying back. They hadn't gotten that far anyways and moves, despite the wave of nausea that hits her, to guard those by the water. Her sword, Kindling, is still brandished and ready to go.

Julian turns at the shouting of Ian raising an eyebrow and his broadsword to the ready. His free hand grabs his shawl and pulls it up over his nose to protect as much of his face as possible. Rather than moving further from the water he rushes to put himself between Lucita and said water.

Lucita is back up from the water but heeds Ian's instructions. She goes a shade paler as she listens to Ian. "Wagoneers, get the supplies back away and to safety, The rest of you please back away, a long ways away. I remember that thing came out of the water at Setarco, up on the beach. Back away!"

Lucita wields Ember Reckoning, a rubicund dagger.

Lucita gets a skinning knife from the Lodge from a subtly textured sturdy yet lightweight trail pack.

Jasher's investigation is interrupted at Ian's bellow. His own combat experience makes his act reflexive; though he is not examining the moss, he leaps away from the shore, nicked cutlass out and ready.

Lucita gets an ornamental twining blade dagger with sheath from a subtly textured sturdy yet lightweight trail pack.

Petal starts to back off even as the girl reaches for her bow. She is still wide-eyed and stunned.

Petal wields Orchids Sting.

Olivia squints and looks around nervously as she begins briskly heading back towards the wagon.

Ian jerks his scarf free from his belt and wraps it around the lower half of his face, effectively protecting it from the smell (not that his scarf stinks any less, but at least it's familiar). He'll yell again, less warning and more orders, if anyone is showing signs of doing less than getting off the sand, but he doesn't venture off solid ground, himself. He's probably pretty useless with sand shifting under his feet.

The sun is still shining, but it has begun to kiss the horizon, leaving a spill of golden light across the waves, deepening the shadows and turning the ocean darker. With attention drawn that way, everyone looking can see the ghastly shape emerging from the water. The eyes cannot make sense of it, not at first. It is as though the skin of a woman was sloughed off completely, creating a human sheet, or rug of sorts. The hair is black, trailing along the ocean floor, wet and collecting sand. The sightless eyes are milky, staring up into the vault of the sky at nothing at all. The rest of the skin is draped over whatever it is that is moving beneath this sheet of human. There are at least three large lumps, sharp, spiky claws can be seen as the ... whatever it is... crawls out of the water, in the direction of those gathered on the beach. The movement is not uniform, lending a further level of surreality to it all.

Petal checked composure at difficulty 15, rolling 2 lower.

Sanya checked composure at difficulty 15, rolling 26 higher.

Mirk checked composure at difficulty 15, rolling 4 higher.

Lucita checked composure at difficulty 15, rolling 3 lower.

Petal's bow is ready, but the girl hasn't fired and it doesn't seem as if she plans to. Her cheeks are pale and her breathing is elevated. She seem frightened and unsettled. A soft gasp escapes her lips, followed by a second louder sound. It is almost a scream.

Julian only begins backing up as the others start heading back to the wagons, making sure to keep himself between the creature and the party. He stops a good distance away from the wagons to ensure if the creature gets any faster there will be at least one obstacle between it and his Baroness and friends.

Lucita's hands grip a dagger in one, a knife in the other and she draws a slow breath, tucking a third weapon where easy to reach. She can not quit staring at the ... thing... "Gods have mercy, what 'is' that?

Miranda lingers by the water only long enough to draw folks back and then backs up to follow.. As they hurry off the beach, she moves backwards so her eyes are on the water, rather than her back to it. She holds Kindling in front of her, pushing folks back until the wagon and others can get away. She looks to Julian and Ian, a glance only afforded them as she looks back to the water. Apparently, adrenaline helps stave off the nausea a bit.

Turning her head, as Ian shouts, toward the sea, Sanya's eyes are scrutinising at first. Perhaps somewhat desensitised, she raises a brow, backing away slowly although doesn't seem to lose face at the sight of the creature. "What did they do to her?" She asks, her voice surprisingly steady.

Petal is frozen and staring at the creature still all shocked. She even stopped her retreat.

Jasher steps forward, and towards the boneless horror crawling out of the waves. He moves to stand alongside Julian, another soul to go through before the others behind. His normally bronzed skin has now taken on a pallor, and his lips are pressed in a tight, thin line, yet the cutlass held up remains steady, and his blue eyes are distant and detached.

A couple of steps put Ian in a position between the combatants and the... whatever. "Looks like it's what's left of the woman. I think something's wearing the body." His voice is calm. Not the stony calm of someone using it like a wall to dam off stronger emotions... In fact, if anything, he sounds CALMER than he normally does, as though he's settled into a state of absolute serenity, perfect clarity.

Ian checked dexterity at difficulty 10, rolling 7 higher.

Mirk checked dexterity at difficulty 10, rolling 2 higher.

Miranda checked dexterity at difficulty 10, rolling 9 higher.

Sanya checked dexterity at difficulty 10, rolling 8 higher.

Julian checked dexterity at difficulty 10, rolling 10 higher.

Lucita checked dexterity at difficulty 10, rolling 16 higher.

Jasher checked dexterity at difficulty 10, rolling 12 higher.

Petal checked dexterity at difficulty 10, rolling 16 higher.

Julian glances at Ian, "Well sadly it needs to die now. I can not leave this thing in the water of the Saiklands." He gives one nod, and one nod to Jasher.

Ian shifts is grip on his cane in a subtle way, ready. "Don't expect anything to stop it short of cutting it to pieces," he says to Julian. "I've never seen one of these things show pain or fear."

Mirk steps back, looking stricken by the sight of it, but he swallows and forces composure with a slow breath. "The real question: What did that to her? That isn't...Even compared to the things we saw before..." He shoots Lucita a helpless look, at a loss for words.

Julian grins slightly, "Then I suppose I have something in common with the creature." He cracks his neck and angles his body toward the creature. Holding his blade wait high, pointed diagonally up across his body.

Jasher nods back to Julian, then keeps his eye upon the monstrosity. He spares no word.

Miranda rolls her wrist with her sword in it, warming up. Like Ian, she seems to reach a calm place where there's no real worry about what she's fighting but more a confidence in that she's going to kill the thing. Her breathing slows, through the mouth and out through the mouth. She is silent, waiting for the moment. And look, her nausea's forgotten while she goes into a new place. Protect her charges. Kill the nasty.

Lucita moves to a position to protect those even less skilled than herself and makes sure the medical, food and camping supplies continue to be moved back from the beach where the 'thing' is being confronted. "keep control of the horses so they don't run off and make sure to keep an eye out for our backs. Don't want something to sneak up behind us either." And she turns to glance over their surroundings before looking back past the warriors between she and the thing coming from the water.

Reigna GM Roll checked dexterity(4) at difficulty 10, rolling 6 higher.

Reigna GM Roll checked dexterity(4) at difficulty 10, rolling 21 higher.

Reigna GM Roll checked dexterity(4) at difficulty 10, rolling 20 higher.

What happens next is... unfortunate. But the three shapes under the sheet of skin move in opposing directions, and between the razor sharp horns and spikes decorating the bodies of these creatures and the sudden movement, that sheet of skin is shredded and each creature -- a large, thick shelled crab with blackened spikes and horns, keeps a segment covering itself, the vile manibles chewing on scraps of flesh clinging to the inside of the skin, even as they charge. The first and largest, aims for Miranda, lifting thick, wickedly hooked claws as it russhes her. The second is aiming for Ian, scuttling side to side in an unpredictable manner.

Reigna GM Roll checked dexterity(4) + brawl(4) at difficulty 15, rolling 20 higher.

Reigna GM Roll checked dexterity(4) + brawl(4) at difficulty 15, rolling 27 higher.

Miranda checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 15, rolling 22 higher.

45 inflicted and Ian is unharmed.

Miranda sees the claw coming and darts out of the way, diving under the swinging claw and coming up at the ready on the other side of its swing.

Lucita approaches the crab on the side that has Ian in the claw grasp, his body and the claw positions helping keep her out of range. She uses her dagger to try to swipe at one of the eye stalks to impair the beast and make it less effective. Once done she tries to move out of its range.

Lucita checked dexterity + small wpn at difficulty 25, rolling 8 higher.

Petal checked dexterity + archery at difficulty 15, rolling 11 higher.

Petal fires off her bow, the arrow landing into one of the open joins on the crabs leg. The arrow stays there, sticking out from the creature. The girl is still pale cheeked and nervous.

Lucita sucks in a breath as she slips back out of range of the giant warped crab as she watches the eye stalk wobble and the gash in it but it is such a little wound it clearly is not the effect she wanted. "Rubicund is not working well on these things!"

Jasher has rolled 1 3-sided dice: 1

Jasher checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 15, rolling 29 higher.

A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Mirk before departing.

Julian checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 15, rolling 53 higher.

Ian checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 25, rolling 66 higher. Ian rolled a critical!

Trusting the others to have a better handle of the creature than she can, Sanya keeps herself at a distance, though keeps her gaze locked on the beast lest it get closer to her.

As Lucita backs up after her strike, Julian grabs her firmly by the back of her clothes and tugs her further away. "Baroness. Wagons. Now. The Archers need someone close." The look on his face is one of not accepting arguments at the moment. As soon as that motion is done he charges the third crab, before it can charge anyone else. He takes his blade in both hands and aims to shove it square in to the creatures flesh eating mouth. Throwing all caution to the wind.

Ian holds his ground as the crab races towards him, his intense eyes following its movement, studying it in the last light of the afternoon. His grip shifts again on his cane, and as the crab demon (tastes like crab, talks like people) grabs him, he makes no attempt to evade, practically stepping into its grip. His alaricite sword sings free from his cane, and he cuts on the draw right into the opening that's made by the creature initiating the grapple. He places the strike with perfection, spattering himself with purple gore. It's probably a good thing he has that scarf covering his nose and mouth. Good for him, anyway. The scarf's going to stink worse than ever after this.

That reckless stab of Julian's alaricite sword finds purchase in the beast's mouth, slicing through the head cleanly in a gout of thick purple ichor. The ichor stinks like a badly festering wound, even as the animal twitches and flails before dying.

Mirk checked dexterity + archery at difficulty 15, rolling 20 higher.

Petal looks pale and grossed out by the smell. Still there is relief in her brown eyes.

Petal is overheard praising Julian: Yay, killing the water crab monster!

Reigna GM Roll checked dexterity(4) + brawl(4) at difficulty 15, rolling 22 higher.

Reigna GM Roll checked dexterity(4) + melee(3) at difficulty 15, rolling 24 higher.

Mirk holds his bow in one hand, hesitating a moment before he draws an arrow. It's clear he's not accustomed to battle, and he presses a finger to one of his charms, as if to draw strength from it. Then he draws, aims, and fires in one smooth motion. The arrow strikes a leg on one of the monstrosities, lodging itself in the creature's joint. Not remotely a kill shot, but one that will perhaps hinder it as the battle proceeds. He winces a little, all the same.

40 inflicted and Miranda is unharmed.

38 inflicted and Ian is harmed for minor damage.

Lucita checked charm + performance at difficulty 30, rolling 34 higher.

Lucita gives a sigh as she realizes she is not that effectife with these shelled and warped things. She drops back, and is pulled back by Julian and returns to a guard position for Mirk and Sayra and tries her alternate weapon, her voice.

"You beasts crawled from the bay

Tryin' to send death our way

Hard shells, and your cruel intent

Shall be time misspent

We will not let this go on

We'll fight dusk till dawn

My song to weaken you, stun,

So into you our swords will run...



She forms intent to shield her people and weaken, damage the creatures till the swordsmen and archers can handle them....." She sings on, trying to offer what protection and help she can, more verses blending into the sound of the battle in progress.

Petal checked dexterity + archery at difficulty 10, rolling 55 higher. Petal rolled a critical!

Lucita checked mana + performance at difficulty 30, rolling 17 higher.

Petal draws back her arrow, the tip sparkling with a glint of sunlight. The arrow flies true, shining with a golden light. It strikes the crab and the beast seems to cave in upon itself, spraying purple ichor outward. Petal look shocked by this all and moved. She peeks over to Lucita aware of her song.

Jasher lunges forward, casting aside the cutlass and bringing the rubicund spear at the ready. Gripping it in both hands, he drives the crimson tip into the joint, twisting cruelly, seemingly unphased by the result. His muscles tense, the blood vessels in his neck protruding as he commits more of his physical strength into turning the spear just so, to pierce through and into the creature's body.

"Do you need help?" Sanya asks Lucita, eyes widening on noticing her sing, though wary of interrupting.

Jasher checked strength + medium wpn at difficulty 10, rolling 43 higher.

Ian is holding the wooden body of his cane backwards, now, so that the sturdy wooden shaft runs parallel to his left arm, allowing him to use his arm as a makeshift shield. A very, very makeshift shield. He knocks the strike out of the way at an angle, earning a cut on the arm in the process. There's a moment where Ian's looking straight into the flayed face of the dead woman, forcing the sharp, severed limb aside in a battle of wills... then an arrow sails over his shoulder and embeds itself in the creature, spattering him with more reeking purple gore.

Jasher's blow does a serious amount of damage to the beast, as it falls to its side, legs flailing, those deadly looking spikes lashing through the air. Its eyes are red as purple ichor bubbles out of its side, the mandibles quivering. It si still alive, but barely.

Lucita's eyes widen in surprise though she nods, not stopping her improvised song but singing the instructions. "Sure, you can join if you wish to try. It is your intent and effort that controls... and the lyrics don't matter except to focus it.

Sanya checked mana + performance at difficulty 30, rolling 6 higher.

Miranda checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 10, rolling 41 higher.

Sanya joins in with the singing, having kept some of the lyrics to memory. She mixes in lyrics from a song dedicated to Mangata, hoping to weaken the beast enough for the killing blow.

With a final twist of his blade, Julian viciously then tears his sword back out, likely spraying himself with the crab goo. The spattering of smelly viscera doesn't bother him at all, and to make sure the job is done he brings his blade up and shoves his sword down through the carapace, like he was planting Excalibur in the stone, pinning his crab to the beach. Just in case.

The singing and the death of the nasty ugly, nightmarish thing seem to help her color return as Miranda steps in with Kindling, her alaricite sword. It glows with golden light as she swings it. Miranda seems to stand a bit taller, looks a bit lighter somehow, as if she were meant to do this. As her blade contacts the nasty crab-wanna-be-nightmare-thing (tm) it slices through, causing the exoskeleton to nearly boil. The exoskeleton peels back, bubbling with a reek of moss. She grimaces at the stench, but follows through with her swing, waiting to see if it still has some life in it... or it's dead.

With all three crabstrosities dead, there is a stillness on the beach as the sun sinks beneath the horizon. The last rays of the day's light washing those on the beach in that golden illumination, a final kiss of warmth before the cooler air begins to circulate. The creatures are dead, their stink only enhancing the stench of the moss. With the sun set, there seems to be an... antiglow, a dark shimmer collecting over the purple filiments of moss. Even the tendrils near the water shifting to that darker hue and emiting a foul odor.

Ian steps away from the mess of exoskeleton and gore that's the crab creature he was just fighting. If Lucita and Sanya are still singing, he's still on his guard, his alaricite sword held at a lazy angle while he scans the sea, taking advantage of the last dying light.

"We'll require a pyre," Mirk says, slinging the bow over his shoulder. "Such creatures release their taint into the land where they died. Into the animals that eat them. Perhaps even on the air itself..." He turns towards Lucita and Snaya, instead of the coastline, watching their singing with a touch of awe.

Mirk checked intellect + agriculture at difficulty 20, rolling 17 higher.

Petal checked intellect + agriculture at difficulty 20, rolling 22 higher.

Julian draws his sword back out of the now thoroughly dead crab and holds it in one hand. "Everyone alright?" He calls out turning to the group.

Sanya checked mana + performance at difficulty 20, rolling 50 higher.

Petal still seems a bit stunned. She might not be all that used to combat. She peeks over to Lucita once more and gives her a smile. "I think you singing helped me shoot." She says in her heavy accent.

Ian looks from Julian to the moss and the water. "I'm not sure it's over yet," he says, his flat voice still serene.

As if unsure whether the beasts will rise once again, and perhaps to shield the others from any residual taint, Sanya continues to sing, keeping her attention on the sea.

Jasher looks at Julian and nods once, then looks back towards the carcass of the monster just felled. He begins to pry his spear free, cleaning the blade of its ichor, even as he glances towards the sea and the corrupted moss.

Julian raises an eyebrow at Ian, "Well then." He lifts his sword and heads a bit closer towards Lucita, making sure to keep an eye on her, scanning the path on which they arrived from. He seems to ignore the awful smell. Much like Ian, his shawl keeps his nose covered.

Petal seems thoughtful even as the girl lowers her bow. "The moss under the grass was green.." She says, looking over to Mirk as if he is giving her ideas. "We could gather the moss, soak in saltwater and heat it?" She says, not sounding fully certain. She looks to him to confirm.

Miranda glances around, "Is everyone okay?" she asks, echoing Julian. She points her sword to the dead thing on the beach, "We should burn tha--." She nods to Mirk. He's on top of that already. Excellent. "The taint from earlier is..." As the sun sets, her pallor pales once more. "Ugh. No, it's.. there's more tainted... something.. here." She turns a bit, still gripping Kindling, but light on her feet.

Petal look over to Miranda, nodding. The girl then adds. "You will all will need baths and maybe a trip to Lagoma's shrine too when home, maybe." She says in her accent. She stays near the wagon for now and is trying not to touch the ichor.

Step by careful pace, Ian backs towards the singers, closing in to guard them as they sing. He seems familiar with the effects of the Song, comfortable with it, even.

Lucita turns to Sanya and ends the song for now. "One must not sing too long. The primum we use is .. poisoned and we sicken and can die if we sing too long. Rest and see if we need to try to sing at the moss later, think what you wish to have happen if we do.

Mirk listens to Petal, his head canted, and then slowly nods his head. "Build the pyre high. We'll need it," he warns Miranda. "I don't know that this is the source of all of the taint, but perhaps with the moss clear..." He shakes his head, dismissing that thought. "Ahead of myself." He gestures to Petal. "We need to soak the moss in salt water and then burn it. I suggest those of us wearing gloves gather up the moss, someone else will need to douse it and then throw it onto a pyre with those bodies. It should help."

Petal listens to Mirk's words with an expression of thoughtful concern. "Burn it..I guess..we have to. It is a shame though." She says, looking to the moss and sucking in a soft breath. She doesn't seem like to the like idea of burning the plants. "I got gloves on."

When it's clear that the danger is over, Ian takes the time to clean his sword on the grass before sheathing it again. "If we're going to do it tonight, we'd better do it. We're about out of light. I'll gather up the moss." He's already filthy with crab people gore, so he might as well.

Jasher nods, adjusting his own gloves before securing the spear back where it was. "I will collect them as well," he says.

Miranda nods to Mirk and sheathes Kindling. Her hand moves to her head, rubbing at her temples. She begins to hunt around for wood and kindling. Branches. She enlishts the aid of any persons at the wagon, "Get axes and cut down some of the brush and smaller trees. We need to get this going quickly." Her tone is firm, despite her sickly pallor.

Julian places his blade in the crook of his armpit, where there is a break from the metal plate he wears. Drawing it carefully he cleans the blade off before sheathing Prideguard. "Well then. I guess I will go find us some useable firewood" He looks down the mess on his armor. "Might smell too bad to be near you all right now." He says dropping his shawl from his nose a grin curling his lips.

Stopping when the baroness addresses her, Sanya only now seems to notice herself weakening, the adrenaline having powered her through beforehand. "You're right. I should have known better, I've read the tales." She grimaces, clutching herself to remain steady. She turns tired eyes onto the others as they make plans to deal with the moss and bodies.

Ian stumbles in the sand, almost falling a couple of times. He's not cut out for walking on this surface. He's not really cut out for walking at all, but the sand is especially bad. Closer to the shoreline where the waves compact the sand is better, tough, and he goes about gathering up the moss. Once the work is done, he'll seek out a section of water that seems clean and take his time cleaning the purple gore off his and his scarf.

The moss is gathered, and none too soon, for as the last of the sunlight fades the stink becomes nearly unbearable. Thick, rancid and cloying, the sort of stench that lingers like an oily stain in the nose. But as the moss is soaked in seawater, the smell begins to lessen. It is a lot of work, collecting the tendrils and tangles of moss, but within a few hours time, under the silver light of the moon and the gentle shimmer of stars, the last of the moss is plucked out of the sea and put with the rest. Heated in a cauldron, the smell gets worse before it gets better. But it does get better. It is an overnight ordeal. But as the sun rises behind them in the east, the first orange rays shining down on the cauldron of deep green moss, there is a freshness found here. As if everything about this place is new, reborn. The air seems to shimmer, the breeze sweet. There is nothing dark here anymore. The evil has been rooted out.



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