Eversouthward they marched, chasing the image of the Nosquen war camp. The mountains have deceived them as they draw closer realising that they are still weeks of travel away from the war front. The road that has been chiseled out of the cliffs begins to descend rapidly. They must cross a valley and climb the cliffs before them in order to reach their allies. A wave of relief washes over the Afacian troops as they realise battle is again delayed.
The spoils of the great battle for Afacia City, have been causing concern for the Free People. Carried by Asha Defender of the Trees, the shard of Arkan writhes restlessly within its arcane prison. Ominous noises have been heard from within, from the shouts of Arkane’s rage, splintering wood and the crackling of fire. Light has been pulsing from this box intermittently. The Ritualists among the travelling party can feel that the entity within is beginning to crack the magic binding it. Every hour that passes, sees the box’s fortifications crumble a little more.
They agree to increase the marching pace, in an attempt to bring the land of the Twins back into view. With Mists looming in the distance, it is clear that the Afacian Armies will not be able to keep to this pace and be in fighting order when they arrive on the southern front. The Hero’s of the Heard of Lands continue through the following night by themselves.
It was almost like the box could feel their urgency and the screams from within became more persistent and frantic. After the third night it was clear that the box was not going to last another evening. Without a ritual circle, the skilled mages among them could do nothing further to assist the matter.
Where would they find a Ritual Circle this far into the wastes?
Those with magical capabilities collaborated in an effort to trace any substantial ley line. With time a concerning discovery was made.
Approximately half a day's travel to the East, there was a point of power. It did not feel like a standard Ritual Circle, but rather it felt like an oasis of magic, in a desert of slow trickling lay lines. It shouldn't be here, that much they were certain of. Even so, they had two options, allow the box to break and risk the shard returning to the mists and the call of its Queen or take the chance and travel away from their intended path.
A quick vote answered this, there was one choice, to pursue the point of power.
The terrain consisted of harsh rocky crags, few plants grew here and those that did were thick with thorns and were bitter to the taste. There was no path on this route that the free people could easily follow. The skilled Rangers among them, scouted for the best course, the party having to stop every few hours to orientate on the source of power. It was a tedious and frustrating journey that descended steadily downwards. A natural bowl began to form in the landscape, a misplaced foot sent pebbles hurdling downwards, clattering for what felt like an eternity.
As they reached the first ledge, the Mages took the time to meditate once more, and now it was clear. Whatever was accumulating the power, was at the bottom of the basin. Reaching out with a tiny piece of their magic, they felt the earth try and take more than they intended to give. The truly skilled among them could discern that the magic being siphoned from their bodies was cascading down the rocks like a waterfall.
As the sun begins to set, and shadows form beneath them, they are finally able to see the anomaly. Lights glow through stained glass, and dance upon the tops of the rocks nearby. A stone hall sits alone, next to a small creek. The smell of freshly cooked food fills the travelling people's nostrils, carried on the smoke from the chimney.
While still out of sight and ear shot the leaders of the Free People agree that they will find out what they can about the inhabitants, before discussing why they have come. This takes some time for all parties to agree, but an accord is made and the box is hidden away. Again Mages reach out, could they perform a ritual here in the dark away from the inhabitants of the hall? Immediately, the power is again pulled from them, the moment they tap into the ley lines, and is drawn to the building itself, disappearing into the stones. Whatever was pulling this power sat within.
They approach the great wooden doors to the stone hall, and with an assertive knock from the free people, the doors quickly open. A scholarly looking human, dressed in robe with ink stained hands peers at the bedraggled congregation at the door.
“We do not receive many visitors here, how may we help you? Are you in need of shelter?”
The Free People answer, they are merely travelling with the War effort and have become separated from the rest of the armies heading to the southern front.
The man looks at them blankly, “War? There is a war? Please come and share our food, rest yourselves, in exchange for telling us your stories and of this war that you speak of.”
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