Today was a big day for me because I met Tenebrion for the first time. Well, I guess I should start at the beginning...
There was a PTF meeting today. We had two destinations in mind for our expedition: the scarmis pen on Ash Island [AI] and a visit to the underground of Tenebrion's Keep [TK] to see the new ethereal amulet trainer. Since we did not have a mystic able to open illusions we decided to start with TK.
Outside Tenebrion's Keep we noted that the Winter Portal was still there and we waited a few minutes beside it for Entil to join us. While we waited Babajaga completely astonished me when she proposed that I lead the group for today's expedition. Me! Considering that I am not even a lord yet and that most of those present were taintless, I did not feel qualified. I had only been in the underground once, and only once to the top of the tower (I did go on a second attempt to reach the top of the tower but only made it to the 3rd floor and, frankly, it did not go very well). For all those reasons, I declined her offer.
One person, I think it was Tessa, told me that I did not need to know the place to lead. That may be true and, now that the initial shock passed, I think I should have accepted Babajaga's offer. I have observed of lot of good leaders, and I have a good sense of tactics, what I lack is experience in the field and also experience as a leader. The former I gain from expeditions like these, the latter I can only acquire if I try and take leadership from time to time. TK Tower is probably a good place to start taking leadership. So, I think that if the offer is made again, I will accept it. I will have to ponder this further, and maybe talk to some of the leaders I have observed to try and get a few tips.
While I was still in a state of shock, Entil arrived and opened the back door with her key. We made our way to the conference room and then to the Tower. To access the underground of the Keep we must first get a key from the top floor of the Tower.
The climb up the tower was rather uneventful, our group easily dealing with the menaces we encountered. It was at the top floor of the tower that we started to find ourselves in trouble. The opposition was strong as we entered, and Sargon was trapped and fell immediately. Then we just had plain bad luck. It so happens that a nondescript barrel near the wall is actually the passage to go back to the Orb level. I touched it by mistake, found myself one floor down, ran around a little and came back to the top floor. Unfortunately I came in the middle of the faithless and fell. Then Thuja touched the barrel also and was trapped downstairs and fell. Then Tessa went in and fell too. So all our healers were down, and soon after everyone was fallen except Elenis. After calling for help, Elenis tried to chain those of us he could reach. He made a valiant effort but was finally overcome on the fourth floor.
While we were waiting for the rescue, I discussed my theory on the use of the mirror portal to send the greymyrs to attack town. Entil told me that the greymyrs had in fact arrived from the east of town. I was perplexed since I had heard otherwise. It would lessen the evidence in favor of my theory if that was actually the case. I should ask on the WoD forum to make sure. In any case, I think my theory still has merit since the lone greymyr I saw with my own eyes arrived from the west. And then, there is the Tree Giant (TG) that came this way too. Hm, more things to ponder...
Very soon our rescuers arrived and raised those of us on the fourth floor. We then went to get those on the fifth floor, and then we all left the tower. We had gained the key that we needed on the top floor.
We made our way to the basement of the Keep. One funny thing about going to the basement is that upon entry there is a spawn of simulacra of those who enter. Well simulacrum may not be the right term since they don't look like exiles, they look like faithless, but they have the same fighting abilities as those who enter. So when you meet my simulacrum you can dispatch it with one swing of your sword and when you meet Yor's, well then you have to swing a lot more. I think you get a message saying which you dispatched when it dies, but I have never hit one so I am not entirely sure.
We found the new amulet trainer near the bottom of the stairs in a newly excavated chamber. Not far from him was a penned Ethereal Cloud. I know that several mystics have already started training with Lalerad, and I must say that I was tempted to start my training also. Nonetheless I held to my chosen path and stayed with Loovma Geer. I will have to go back to the basement when I am a better student of Loovma. Having a chain is just too important to delay this training further.
Since we were there, we made a trip to the Constellation Room (there is an earlier picture in my scrapbook). Once there I took some readings with my amulet. I got only strange readings of the type: "Local ether activity is bizarre." I understood why a few minutes later when we returned near the stairs...
A portal had appeared there and I think the erratic readings from my amulet were caused by its appearance in the vicinity. I did find one thing I did not know about the use of the ethereal amulet at that time. You can use it to scan a portal, or more precisely, the other end of the portal: Your amulet vibrates as it examines the portal. Ether activity on the far side of the portal appears normal.
Being his usual daring self, Elenis decided to jump into the portal to see where it would take him. I never learned where he went. He must have told Babajaga, but she did not share this information with me.
Well, after that we headed to the beach of Ash Island to take a look at the Scarmis Pen. The pen is located just east of the tree leading to the Dark Chamber. A mystic able to see through illusions is required to enter. And, among illusions, this one requires a certain skill to see through. I say that because Groan, who can open many of the illusions I have encountered to date in the lands, cannot open this one. We were lucky that an opener was available, and we entered the pen.
Basically, the pen is a big enclosure with a narrow empty area surrounding it. In this surrounding area, there were a couple of scarmis foragers. In the north east corner, there is a scarmis hole that we entered. It is a place that is often very dangerous, and we were ready for the worst. Yor went in first to run the creatures further in. Elenis followed 7 seconds later to put up a wall of kuzdu to fortify the northern part of the tunnel below the scarmis hole.
The area did not live up to its reputation because we easily defeated the beasts we encountered. We then visited the caves and exited the area. To get out of the pen area you go to the northwest corner and take the pathfinder path there. Apparently at the center of the pen is Lugubrion's Keep, but we did not have a chance to see it. Earlier, we had noticed that Tenebrion was in his conference room and wanted to talk. We decided to head back to TK to chat with him.
We met Tenebrion in his conference room. I must say it was the first time I met him and I was a little nervous about it. My perception is that the Brion brothers are linked in some way to Puddleby's fate, and that meeting one of them seemed to be very important. The encounter confirmed my perception of things. The Brions have been here for ages, and perceive our arrival as a perturbation. It is clear that they cannot be trusted. Their motives are not what they would have us believe. They work toward their own ends, and we can only guess at what these are. What is clear is that they somehow need something from us. Why and to what purpose is not clear. We must play the game until we can figure it out, staying on our guards of course.
In summary, this is some of the things we learned during the meeting. We confirmed that the mirror is something that interests the brothers. They can manipulate ether with great skill. They have more tools than they let us have at the moment. Tenebrion was wearing a catsbane necklace but denied it. Tenebrion wants to do an experiment on a priestess of the Nox Sorora with a concentrated flow of ether. I had to leave before the end of the encounter, and maybe Tessa has more information on what transpired after I left. I put the complete information I gathered during the conversation with Tenebrion in my research scrolls.
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