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If at First (Part 1) … from Tales of Gelfzyn

    • 47 posts
    July 11, 2018 1:06 PM PDT

    (Follows 'A Shared Concern from The Tales of Gelfzyn')

      The trek back to Sorhiryth from the ruins was uneventful, although I wouldn't tell Mylah that. We spent many hours along the walk holding hands or with an arm around one or the other. It was the only respite from my brooding over the situation that I found myself in regarding the Whispering. I resolved to seek out Gran when I got home.
      I found her at her hut outside of town weaving a cloth with many colored patterns. She set down the shuttle as I approached. "Bright stars and safe travels grandmother." I greeted.
      "And to you Pup." she replied. "Sit down and rest. I'll go get us some nice fresh tea to help us enjoy this fine day."
      She ducked into her hut and emerged with a tray supporting a pitcher and two cups. "So how was your adventure with Mylah and her friends?" she inquired while pouring out tea into the cups and then sitting down at her loom.
      I spent the next hour or so relating our battle with the Molnea, the meeting with a Maidyn Clan representative, and my thoughts about the Elven astronamers, the Dwarves, and the Tholens. "And if I'm right about all of this, a time table is set and I'm not making much progress." I said with a sigh putting my head in my hands.
      "Oh Pup" Gran said in her most grandmotherly tone. "Don't be so hard on yourself. The Powers don't go around giving impossible tasks. Difficult, yes. But not impossible." At this I shrugged and took a sip of tea.
      She smiled and said "The Elves have noticed some patterns in the sky at night and by the time you visit them, they should have figured out what it means." This brought my head up.
      "So, you think that I should venture to Faerthale?" I asked. "And what of the Dwarves?" I added. "I don't even know where their lands are."
      "Now don't you worry about that." Gran smiled. "I can give you direction to Faerthale and to the Oldassan Citadel in Khadassa. But, I see other winds blowing that may need attending to." saying as she turned her head to the forest path.
      Mylah soon emerged as a vision of excitement. "Gelfzyn, there you are. You'll never guess what's happened."
      "It must be important." I offered with a smile.
      "It seems your idea about looking for gatherings of undead was good. A hunting party found a group gathered near an obilisk west of where we fought the snake. So, ready for another adventure Ranger?" she said with a smirk.
      "What's that for?" I asked "I though I got through the last one fine."
      "Well, if moping all the way back is your idea of 'fine'." she said with a punch to the ribs. "Maybe we can do better this time." she added with a smile.
      "Well." said Gran. "There you go. Another task presents itself. I'll have a map and directions ready for you when you get back."
      At that, I thanked Gran for her tea and her help and followed Mylah back to town to see if we could gather the group for another adventure.

      Everyone in group was almost as excited about the news as Mylah, even Sor'gal expressed an interest in going. We rested that evening and set out the next day retracing most of the path traveled a few days earlier. As we neared the area of the ruins south of the Veil of Azeris, we turned westward following the directions from the hunting party. Late in the day, we crested a small hill and saw some ruins with a obilisk off in the distance less than hour or so away. From this distance we could just make out some undead moving around in the ruins.
      "The backside of this hill looks good for a camp" Jin'tyn suggested and we set about settling in for the night.
      "I'm going scout around a bit while there is still some light." Mylah said as she disapeared into the scattered trees.
      As I was looking in the direction she ran off to, Darsyth came up and put a hand on my shoulder. "Don't worry Gelfzyn. She'll be alright." he said.
      "I know." I replyed. "It's just that I should have made the suggestion, being a Ranger and all." I looked where she went for a few more minutes and than scouted around the immediate area of the camp.

      When Mylah returned that evening, she had a puzzled look on her face. We all sat around our small campfire while she reported what she had seen. "There are four groups of five skeletons that patrol throughout the ruins. Each group has a larger skeleton leading the other four. Near the center of the ruins, in a circular area, is an obilisk about five times my height and about half my height in width at the base. Outside the circle area around the obilisk are twelve large size skeletons equally space. There is also what looks like a pile of armor at the base of the obilisk."
      "One would conjecture that we were to be expected" Sor'gal offered as we were all silent for a moment concidering what Mylah had said.
      "It seems that there may be a power opposing us and it may have taken notice of our activities in it's domain." remaked Wosel our druid.
      At this Darsyth nodded. "But they're only undead are what's more fun than cracking a few bones." adding with a smile.
      "I agree with muscles." Mylah said grinning. "We can make short work of this group like we've done with the others."
      "Not so fast" I said. "I think Wosel has a point. If some power is involved, we'll need to be more careful."
      "Why Gelfzyn, you know I'm alway careful." Mylah said with a smerk.
      At that I shruged. "Ok, then. Can we at least wait until morning to clear out the place?" At this, at least, we were all in aggreement and settled in to get some rest.

      After a quick morning meal, we set out for the ruins. I indicated to Sornir that he should stay here in camp and he seemed to understand, munching as he was on some leftovers. As we appoached the ruins, both Mylah and I spotted the patrols that she had seen earlier. After observing them for a time, we picked a spot that they passed that was farthest from the ruins and the other patrols and starting to engage them one at a time. As we eliminated a patrol, none of the others and none of the undead circling the ruins seems to respond or act differently. Hmm, I though, maybe Wosel was just being overly worrysome.
      "Well, that was easy." Mylah announced after we had fought through the last patrol. "Let's go see what the others are guarding." After a brief equipment check, we headed to the circle of skeletons. With the warriors in front, Mylah and I on the sides, and the healers behind, Darsyth moved in to engage the closest undead.
      Up close this was one of the larger skeletons that I had ever seen. "The bigger they are, the more crunch they make when they fall." Mylah said with glee as she moved around behind the skeleton.
      "LOOK OUT!" shouted Sor'gal. As I took my focus from the big skeleton, I could see that the other guards had been closing in from the sides. Soon we wouldn't be fighting one, but twelve. I swithched from my bow to the two handed sword on my back and moved in closer to Jin'tyn and Darsyth for defense. "Wosel, get us out of here!" I shouted as I intercepted a skeleton moving in behind us.
      A few moments later, we were all back in camp nursing bruses, but no serious injuries. "What happened?" Mylah asked, with anger rising in her face. "I don't know." I said. "Sor'gal, you shouted the alarm. What did you see?"
      Sor'dal paused his healing of Mylah's shoulder and stood up. "It was most strange." he said contimplating. "When Darsyth engage the first opponent, the two off to the sides began animating. A few moments later, the one to either side of them began to move and so on. It looked to be a rippling effect all along either side of the circle until all of the undead were active and moving in our direction."
      "But undead don't work like that." Mylah exclamed. "They're mindless and random and don't attack unless you come too close to them."
      "Well, yes. In general, I would agree with you Mylah." Sor'dal replied. "But this does not seem the case here. I would conjecture that the clue was in the way the patrols were functioning. They were following a set pattern and seemed to be lead by another skeleton. Not very random it seems. More like under control."
      "I told you, I told you." Wosel sighed. "We've awaken an unknown power." As she put her head in her hands where she sat.
      "Ok, ok." I said. "Just another problem to be solved. We can do this." As I looked around, I asked. "Suggestions?"
      After a moment or two, I asked "Is there a way to stop the side skeletons from resonding?"
      "I have been researching a new spell that lulls or pacifies undead. Perhaps it might break the link between them." Sor'dal offered.
      "Yes, yes. That might work." Wosel said as her head poped up. "I use a similar spell to pass by hostle animals. It calms them."
      After some more discussion, we came up with a revised attack plan for eliminating the circle of guard skeletons. Sor'dal would 'lull' the skeletons on either side of our target. I would pull it with a bow shot to draw it away from the ruins and to insure that the lulling effect worked. We would then repeat for each guard.
      As it turned out, Sor'dal need to 'lull' the next two skeletons to each side for this to work. By mid-day we had dispatched all of the guards. Now to the obilisk and the pile of armor at its base.