Post Apotheosis

A Stop in the Woods

Why one shouldn't trust the Neutrals!

The flames continue to reveal the secrets of my future, and that future is disturbing.

As much as I would prefer plug the entrance to Wormhold, and go back to negotiating with our neighbors and planning for our winter festival, my forefathers have revealed something to me. Come spring, the worms will be at the Keep, corrupting both the lands and our people.

They have shown me that our only chance to stop the tide of darkness; the beastkin, undead, fallen gods, and evil men, is to take the power of Wormhold and turn it into something good. Without it, we are lost.

I have much to meditate on. I sense a minor disturbance in the Druid wood, and Ronnie has been anxious to visit Toulis there for some reason, so I chose to take a ride in the early Winter frosting while the lads are out retrieving Jiro. Ronnie, please, we can’t ride any slower. Enough about the grinding pain in your leg already, I’m trying to think.

We park at Hawk’s Hunt and I have a brandy with the old man. Say what you will about his politics, that old knight keeps a well appointed manor. Before I can warm my bones, Ronnie is already hobbling about, so we get going.

The trees are less responsive than the last time we entered the wood but with enough climbing and prodding they carry us around again. But only to deposit us whence we started. I send poor Gerhardt, who died quite young about a century ago, and he goes and asks Toulis if she is ok or needs any help. Gerhardt is back in a flash with her response: yes, the wood has been infiltrated and there is danger…

Well, that’s our specialty, so I light a fire and wait. Staring into the flame, I summon the gang, and within minutes fate delivers them right to my location. But what is this — Symon in chains and Jiro still transformed. Great grandfathers, whats spirits possess him? The helmet you say? I follow a dark thread from Symon’s eyes to the deep recesses of his soul where its thick as rope. We heave… dozens of my kin join me in this heavy burden but we finally tug it free and it recoils back into the great evil helm…

Wasn’t I just telling you how dangerous magic items can be?

Like so many fell beasts before them, some wood ogres and giants commit suicide by ambushing us, and we make our way to the great hollowed tree. Who knows how long it has lain fallen, but the magics of this place have made its roots flow up in a great fortress larger than Raven’s Roost.

Toulis is there with friends, and typical of those who spend too much time from society, her manners are terrible and there are no thanks for coming to her aid. Seriously Ronnie, the big folk are talking, we can talk about your leg later.

Tybalg and Jack, having matriculated amongst evils are too trusting of these neutrals. They assume the mushrooms on the table were left for them, and they are soon wandering in the grove and picking flowers.

I, on the other hand, do not trust the neutrals. At least with evils, you know where you stand.

Toulis makes it obvious that she’s been scrying us. We should really get better defenses against that. The butch priestess, Paerune, who doesn’t look like she’s getting married anytime soon, is apparently a leader of Symon’s order and a terrible influence on him. You would think she had dug him out of a pile of bodies or just restored his soul the way he aligned with her neutral thinking.

While the warrior, maybe the priestess’s girl friend, Burnt Sienna, taunted Jiro for looking different, Ronnie sold us out to the druid. Just to relieve his cramped little leg, he agreed to leave Caerdail in Wormhold, if and when we can rid it of its current godling. First, that’s terrible bargaining for a quartermaster… a hobbit leg can’t be worth much more that a few chickens and he’s trying to give away our only lifeline to survival. Second, he seems to much aligned with the neutrals… I might need find a new purser.

I storm off back through the wood, refusing to have my hand forced by a coven of wardens. They have no sense of the struggle of light and darkness we are waging. The wardens see me as just as bad as the beast lord, and their transparent attempt to destroy Wormhold after we sacrifice ourselves to conquer it does not sit well with me. Especially since they will be sending Caerdail to sacrifice herself to do so, and I hate seeing Tybalg blubber and cry.

My flames have shown me what we need to do!

Comments

“Ronny, you’re out of your element. Odda, the Wormgod is not the issue here.”

“So, who? Who?”

“Odda Aelfricson I. The Other Aelfricson. The demilich lord.”

“That’s fucking interesting, Simon. Fucking interesting.”

A Stop in the Woods
Stephen_Scholz Burkzurker

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