The Compass Rose

Session 59 - Apr. 7/14

Don't stick your tongue out at me, old man!

After a short debate, the group decides to use the Stone to Flesh scroll to restore Bilya to his former self and hope that he can revive Pascal later. Fatima, with some aid from Io, successfully releases Bilya from his stony form. As he breathes his first breath, a thick, slimy, flesh-coloured substance falls from the ceiling, splattering Bilya, Fatima, and Cornelius. As Cornelius savours the cheesy taste of the substance, the others realize that the spell unexpectedly converted some of the stone ceiling into flesh. Wiping the slime from his brow, Bilya confirms that higher levels spells have been acting strangely lately.

Bilya is unsure how long he has been in stone form. The group estimates that it’s been about 3 weeks. He recalls how he managed to allude the undead guardians on this level, but succumbed to the trap at the pool. He was in the process of studying the pool, when it happened.

The group returns to the room with the large relief statue of the fire bat god that overlooks the 5’ diameter pool. They carefully check the area to make sure not to trigger the trap and discover that the spell associated with the trap is not currently active, but may reset itself at some point. The group can see swirling images in the dark waters of the pool – images of vegetation, animals, and people. The people appear to be of Labreyan descent. Bilya studies the pool for more than hour and believes that he has discovered its purpose.

It seems to be some sort of scrying device. By touching the pool, it is able to project one’s life force back in time, allowing one to observe the activities of others in another time period. The subject’s spirit should be able to return to their own body once they return to the same spot where they first appeared in the older time period. He is not sure in exactly what time period that the subject will appear, nor if he or she will appear in the exact same location. Bilya believes that the Children of Zepha may try to use or may have used the pool to find the location of an artifact or artifacts in another time. Although he understands that there are risks involved, Bilya wants to use the pool to find out if this is the case.

As Bilya is the only one that can restore the victims of the Flesh to Stone trap, he offers to stay behind, while three or four volunteers use the pool. He assures them that their bodies will stay behind, in stasis. He will see that they are not harmed. Io, Fatima, and, somewhat unenthusiastically, Cornelius volunteer to use the pool to travel in time. They link hands, forming a circle, and place them within the nearly black water. For a moment, they feel as if they are sleeping. They each “awaken” in another’s body.

Io discovers that she is within the body of Nanui, a Labreyan boy of 8 years. He is on a sandy beach on a jungle coastline. It is a warm and partly sunny day. He is helping three of his older cousins unload their catch from a canoe. Io knows this from Nanui’s thoughts – she cannot see what he sees. Io senses that Nanui is unsettled by her presence, but she is able to calm him enough to telepathically control his actions. As they unload the fish, Nanui hears some fishermen nearby talking about a witch that is to be executed at dusk. One of them jokes how there will not be much left of her body once the sharks are finished with her. Nanui cannot speak to Io, but she senses this information in Nanui’s thoughts. Nanui’s cousin, Teva, thanks him for helping and offers to let him fish with them again tomorrow, if his father allows it. Nanui, enthusiastically accepts the offer. Teva gives him a share of the fish and bids him farewell. Io directs Nanui to return to his family’s hut with the fish.

Fatima appears in the body of Hiro, a Labreyan boy of 10 years. He is inside a hut with a few beams of sunlight penetrating a window flap. Hiro sits at a table, lit by a glowing stone that he created himself with a Light spell. He notices Fatima’s presence and seems intrigued by it, rather than frightened. Fatima tries to communicate that she is not there to harm him, but to teach him. Hiro has been tasked by his master, the village priest Pomare, with determining the nature of two magical scrolls. He has already identified one as a scroll of Detect Magic. After some time, he discovers that the other scroll contains the magic of a Detect Evil spell. Once he is done this, he starts to tidy up the room and take a pot of boiling soup off of the fire. Fatima instructs Hiro to go visit his master, Pomare, who he knows to be at the beach.

As he approaches the shore, Hiro can see his master blessing the double-hulled sailing canoe that will be used to kill the witch this evening. Fatima probes Hiro’s thoughts about the witch, learning that the witch’s name is Eeva and that she is a worshiper of the fire bat. Hiro asks Pomare why the witch is being killed. Pomare replies that she is sentenced to death because she is a worshiper of the fire bat. He adds that her husband, Moratu, is also a fire bat worshipper, but fled the village about a fortnight ago, before he could be taken into custody. Hiro tells Pomare that he is done his chores and asks if he may come along when the witch is being executed. Pomare, surprised to see Hiro here, forbids it and gives him other tasks to do. Hiro, with the help of Fatima, determines that his master is just giving him busy work to keep him occupied. Disappointed, Hiro returns to the village.

Cornelius appears in the body of Taurua, a Labreyan girl of 10 years. She is outside of the family’s hut, playing a game with some rocks of multiple colours. She is a little frightened by the presence of the old man within her body. Ignoring her anxiety, Cornelius proceeds to learn about the game that she is playing. Taurua hears low voices from inside the hut – her mother and father are having a conversation. At Cornelius’ command, she sneaks up to the open window and listens in.

  • Mohea (mother): "She is too young. She should not see such things until her first blood.”
  • Ponui (father): “But she has grown so much and the villagers respect her. It would show her strength, if she were present.”
  • Mohea: “This woman is a worshiper of the bat. She will curse all of those present. I don’t want my daughter to witness that.”
  • Ponui: “She is powerless now that her husband is gone. Taurua will be in no danger.”
  • Mohea: “ All the same, I don’t want her to see it. Promise me that you won’t take her with you when it’s done…”
  • There is a pause.
  • Ponui: “As you wish, then. But she will have to face such things some day, if she is to realize her true potential.”
  • Mohea: “Perhaps. But not this day.”
  • Ponui: “Well, I need to make sure that the hut is being repaired before I go out to sea. I will see you again this evening, my wife.”

Taurua knows that the woman they speak of is called Eeva. Her husband was a village elder named Moratu. They were both found to be bat worshipers, an offence punishable by death. Moratu fled the village some 2 weeks ago before they could condemn him. She remembers that several months ago, Moratu, then still elder, condemned his own friend and other villagers, when they were found to be bat worshippers.

Taurua then hears her father leaving the hut. Cornelius commands her to run after him. Taurua asks her father about the witch. He realizes that she overheard him talking with her mother and asks her if she wants to witness the execution. The girls is afraid, but Cornelius convinces her to say yes. Ponui takes her back to the hut and gets her to tell her mother that she wants to go with her father, a village elder, to the execution of the witch. Mohea agrees to this but is clearly upset with her husband for putting her in this position. Ponui takes Taurua, first to the north side of the village to see how the hut repairs are going, then to the beach, where the canoe awaits.

After seeing the village, the river to the north, and now the beach, Cornelius estimates that they are on the western shore of Calmuth Island, where the modern Ulgar village of Gora once was, until burned by the Gul. Cornelius knows that the Ulgar annexed western Calmuth a little more than 100 years before their own time, causing the resident Labreyans to flee. So, this time time period could be no later than that.

As Hiro leaves the beach, Nanui notices his friend and they agree to meet later. Near Nanui’s hut, they discuss the killing of the witch. During the conversation, they learn that both boys are being possessed by the party members. As they speak, Taurua and her father pass them on their way to the shore. Taurua makes faces at them. This convinces Fatima and Io that the girl, usually mild-mannered, is likely being possessed by Cornelius. Hiro goes off to do his chores for Pomare, while Nanui returns to the beach.

The sailors are preparing the canoe and Pomare is completing his blessings as Taurua and her father approach the beach. The sun is getting low in the sky as a crowd is forming on the beach. Ponui sees some of the other elders present and moves to join them. Taurua, sitting a little ways away, by herself sees Nanui. They both notice that the four warriors near the canoe are returning to the village. Nanui follows behind them as do several other villagers.

The warriors stop at a hut in the village centre and call for Eeva, the witch. She emerges from the hut and is escorted by the warriors to the beach. As they pass Nanui, he sees that she is wearing a leather cord around her neck with a charcoal-coloured stone cube hanging from it. There is a streak of crimson in the stone. Nanui returns to the beach, just behind them.

At the beach, the crowd parts to let the witch through. The warriors stop at the canoe. One of the elders, Amura, announces to the crowd that the witch shall be returned to the water from whence she came. Ponui and Pomare think it unwise to allow the witch to wear the necklace. Amura says that it should be left on her so that it will be consumed with the rest of her. They do not protest. The warriors bring the witch aboard the deck of the canoe. The elders follow behind, with Taurua in tow. The canoe sails off toward the northwest.

Farther down the beach, several fishing canoes are waiting to follow behind at a safe distance. Teva, Nanui’s cousin, offers to take him with them to watch the execution from their canoe. By this point, Hiro has finished his work and is at the beach. Nanui asks if Hiro can join them too. Teva agrees.

As the sun sets in the west, the double-hulled canoe that carries the witch stops a few miles from shore. A line carrying several bloody fish parts is lowered into the water. Within minutes, several silver-tipped fins appear just above the water’s surface. The sharks make a frenzied attack on the fish. In its thrashing, one of the sharks very nearly jumps aboard the canoe.

Amura says that it is time for the witch to die. Her gag and bonds are removed and she is brought to the very stern of the canoe. Amura asks her if she has any final words. She says only: “He will come for me.” Taurua tries to warn her father about the necklace, but he feels it is not his place to question the wisdom of Amura. Before the warriors can push her over, she lets herself fall into the awaitng sharks. More thrashing ensues. Her limbs are torn from her and she is bitten in half as her life’s blood darkens the water. Several minutes later, the thrashing stops and the water is calm. Taurua noitces the small flotilla of canoes that has formed to the south to watch the event. She also sees a lone canoe to the east.

Nanui and Hiro, from their canoe, see the witch fall into the water and get eaten by the sharks. They also notice the single canoe to the east. Teva turns the canoe around and returns to shore. Back on the beach, Nanui and Hiro discuss what happened in private. They are unsure how to proceed. They decide to go home and talk again in the morning. Taurua arrives ashore a little later and returns to her hut with her father. He expresses his pride in her and that he feels that she will be a good elder one day.

Nanui’s father invites Nanui to join him during his leather work this day. Nanui says that his cousins invited him to fish with them. His father consents to it and tells Nanui to find him when he’s back. Nanui finds his cousins at the beach. He asks them if they will fish near the area where the witch was killed. Teva is afraid of the silver sharks and refuses. One of the other fishermen says that no one would risk fishing near the vicious silver sharks – no one except Mako. Nanui asks who Mako is. The fisherman says that he is a recluse shark hunter that lives alone, north on the coast. He may already be out there fishing the sharks. Nanui decides to tell Hiro about this.

Hiro starts his day with Pomare, helping him organize magical components and identifying items. Nanui calls from outside. Pomare permits Hiro to speak with him briefly. Nanui tells Hiro about the shark hunter, Mako – maybe he can help them find the necklace that Eeva wore. Hiro agrees and goes to find Taurua. Nanui goes to find his father in his work hut.

Hiro finds Taurua outside her hut, watching her younger siblings play. Hiro mentions Mako, but Cornelius decides that Taurua is too busy right now. Hiro decides to fetch Nanui instead. The two of them try to find Eeva’s hut to search it, but discover that it is already being burned. With that lead a dead end, the two boys get Taurua and the three of them leave the village to find Mako.

The children cross the river and find a jungle path that leads north. After hiking for more than three hours, they find a clearing with a single hut. Lines holding shark parts hang between nearby trees and the hut. On the door of the hut are the jawbones of a shark. Peeking inside, Nanui sees that the hut is festooned shark parts. Mako is absent.

Hiro finds a trail that leads down to the shore. They see that a sailing canoe is approaching the shore from the southwest. The children hide in the bushes. Several minutes later, the canoe comes ashore. The fisherman carries a large, heavy-looking bag over his shoulder and holds a long metal knife in his hand as he heads up the trail to the hut. Metal items have been condemned in the village and it is considered a punishable offence to wield one. Hiro uses Detect Magic on the man. He sees that his knife is indeed magical. They let the man pass by to the hut. After he is inside, Hiro runs back to the path to fetch the adults from the village.

Three hours later and after dark, Hiro makes it back to the village. He finds Pomare and tells him what has transpired. They find the elder Ponui, Taurua’s father. He commands four warriors to accompany the three of them north to Mako’s hut.

The other two children stay hidden in the bushes near the shore. Near dark, they hear two men’s voices outside the hut. They cannot see them. One of the men asks the other if he has found what he was looking for. He says yes and asks if the other has brought him"the other knife you promised me". The first man says yes but wants to confirm that he found the necklace. After a long pause, presumably to check the bag, the first man thanks the other and leaves down the path. Taurua is sure that the first voice was that of Moratu, Eeva’s fugitive husband. Nanui decides to follow him.

As Nanui heads down the path, he hears something coming up behind him. It’s the fisherman – Mako! He grabs Nanui prevent shim from running away. Grappled, Nanui suddenly feels the urge to use the small metal hammer that he has been hiding in his pouch. Once in his hand, the hammer glows brightly. Quickly, Nanui strikes Mako in the hand. Mako recoils, allowing Nanui to run away. Mako runs after him and tries to grab him again. Nanui evades him and strikes him again. After that, Mako lets him go. After Mako returns to his hut, Taurua catches up with Nanui. There is no trace of Moratu.

On their way back to the village, the two children encounter Taurau’s father and his party. Ponui is relieved to find her safe. The children tell them what happened. Ponui tells two of the warriors to take the three children back to the village. He and the others will see to Mako.

Back in the village, Nanui tells Hiro about his hammer. Hiro, with the help of Fatima’s knowledge, identifies the hammer as a Token of Galus. The three of them agree that this item is likely what the Children of Zepha are looking for. They find an easily identified outcropping of rock near the shoreline and bury the hammer there. The three children then return to the spots where they were first possessed. The companions explain to the children the importance of keeping the location of the hidden hammer a secret. They seem to understand. Io, Fatima, and Cornelius release their control over the children. They regain consciousness in their bodies and see the pool before them. As they look around the room, Bilya gives a sigh of relief.

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