Session 7

Session 7 — January 29, 2020

In Attendance

Austin — Pas­cal

John Mark — Zuka

James — Neville

 

Katie — Haig

Patrick — Han­ni (Remote­ly)

Tim — Judge

 

Log — Journey to the Kerr Highlands

July 14, 1592 — On a bright sum­mer morn­ing, our par­ty left the dubi­ous com­forts of Grig­gston for the indu­bitable dan­gers of the Nephelese inte­ri­or. To our sur­prise, our band near­ly dou­bled in size once we crossed the Vic­to­ria Riv­er; it seems that Perd did not whol­ly trust the Agenore­ans, but nei­ther did he wish to fright­en us by the sud­den arrival of such a large force. The sur­vivors of the Red Descent inci­dent, Nin, Obah, Tama, Lir, and Kel Tah, gra­cious­ly invit­ed us to trav­el along­side them and Haig made casu­al, if halt­ing, con­ver­sa­tion with them through­out the day. The lan­guage bar­ri­er between our par­ty and the Kerr may become a prob­lem at some point, but so far we have man­aged. Toward the end of the day, we passed the site of the aban­doned Kerr vil­lage. Curi­ous­ly, noth­ing remained of it but a large clear­ing on the banks of the riv­er. While this loca­tion would have made an ide­al place to camp, the band pushed on in silence, choos­ing to stop sev­er­al miles fur­ther east.

July 15, 1592 — Over­cast, warm, winds from the west. Ear­ly in the morn­ing we passed the spot where we had pre­vi­ous­ly turned off to find the Red Descent. Hang­ing from the trees were many bone and wood­en charms, which our friends touched rev­er­ent­ly as they passed by. A memo­r­i­al, per­haps? Or a ward?. This day saw the land begin to rise, grad­u­al­ly at first and then steeply as we made our way east. Zuka was able to find enough game and for­age to feed most of the par­ty. It is a mar­vel how quick­ly he has tak­en to this new land. Our trail diverged from the riv­er at sev­er­al points as we tacked back and forth, climb­ing the steep walls of the plateau. More than once, we round­ed a bend to see the riv­er cas­cad­ing majes­ti­cal­ly down from above. We encoun­tered sev­er­al small Kerr set­tle­ments, no larg­er than sev­er­al dozen peo­ple, with struc­tures all built of mud and wat­tle.

By late after­noon, we crest­ed the rim of the plateau and were greet­ed by the odd­est sen­sa­tion. It was as if the air around us had become jel­ly, which we had to push through. Though it seemed to last sev­er­al sec­onds, it was evi­dent that no dif­fer­ence in speed of motion was per­cep­ti­ble from an exter­nal van­tage. What’s more, once through this strange cur­tain, we found our­selves briefly over­whelmed by the rich­ness of our sen­sa­tions. Look­ing about, it seemed as if all the world was breath­ing, the land ris­ing and falling rhyth­mi­cal­ly. Though the day had been quite grey and over­cast, the col­ors around us sud­den­ly became exceed­ing­ly vibrant and pre­vi­ous­ly unno­ticed pat­terns and reg­u­lar­i­ties in the foliage revealed them­selves. While quite strong, the sen­sa­tion passed quick­ly and, though the world around us remained preter­nat­u­ral­ly vibrant, we found our fac­ul­ties to have large­ly returned to nor­mal. The Kerr took note of our con­fu­sion, but only smiled gen­tly at us. Did they have the same sen­sa­tion? Clear­ly, every­one in our par­ty expe­ri­enced the same phe­nom­e­non. All of it left me dis­ori­ent­ed and, frankly, won­der­struck.

Once in the Kerr High­lands, the den­si­ty and per­ma­nence of set­tle­ments rapid­ly increased. Though we only marched for anoth­er three hours, we passed through six set­tle­ments, each con­sist­ing of a cen­tral clus­ter of build­ings made of plas­ter over stone and an out­er ring of mud and wat­tle dwellings. The lat­ter seemed to have been con­struct­ed with­in the last sev­er­al years and it is notable that each set­tle­ment seemed to be home to more Kerr than could com­fort­ably reside there. Two of the set­tle­ments, includ­ing the one where we stayed for the night, were quite siz­able, with per­haps four or five hun­dred res­i­dents.

A Weka

We also found that, once in the High­lands, our band was joined by per­haps fifty mount­ed Kerr war­riors. Their mounts, how­ev­er, were large birds! The birds, which we lat­er dis­cov­ered are called Weka, have vicious beaks and pow­er­ful legs. They seem capa­ble of quick bursts of speed, but I doubt that they could han­dle a day of hard rid­ing as well as a good Wahla­gian steed. Still, we now know that the Kerr have cav­al­ry forces.

Last­ly, and I hes­i­tate to note this, I had the strangest feel­ing on and off through­out the day as though some­one were right behind me. I would have sworn that I had heard foot­steps, or mum­bled speech, but when I turned to look there was no one there. If it were not such a strong feel­ing, I would mere­ly write it off as ner­vous­ness from the new envi­ron­ment and my expe­ri­ence pass­ing through the veil of per­cep­tion (as I’ve decid­ed to dub it). It war­rants clos­er study.

July 16, 1592 — Clear, warm, winds from the west. Our jour­ney today led us through larg­er and larg­er Kerr set­tle­ments. The ter­rain in the High­lands was rough at first, thick with mixed forests and hilly, but our well trod path wound through larg­er and larg­er clear­ings giv­en over to farm land. Many of the crops were unknown to me and I will attempt to acquire sam­ples on our way back to Grig­gston.

At one point dur­ing the day, while pass­ing between two hills, the trail was over­shad­owed by an enor­mous rib cage! As most of the skele­ton was buried in the hills on either side, it was dif­fi­cult to esti­mate the size or nature of the beast that left it, but the rib cage itself was large enough for six men to walk com­fort­ably abreast and the por­tion of it that was vis­i­ble was near­ly fifty feet long.

In the ear­ly after­noon we crest­ed a rise and enjoyed a spec­tac­u­lar view of a wide basin below us. The walls and floor of the basin for as far as we could see were heav­i­ly cul­ti­vat­ed and dot­ted with set­tle­ments of var­i­ous sizes. This would seem to be the heart of Kerr ter­ri­to­ry.

At the bot­tom of the basin, still some hours march away, was a large lake and sur­round­ing the lake were sev­er­al larg­er towns. It seemed like­ly that we were head­ed for one of these. Beyond the basin, the land began to rise and we had from there the best view yet of the moun­tains that are our goal. The most notable fea­ture of the moun­tains, even vis­i­ble from Grig­gston on par­tic­u­lar­ly clear days, is a large red band of rock run­ning ver­ti­cal­ly up the face of one of the moun­tains. The set­tlers took it to be a par­tic­u­lar­ly rich vein of iron. From our van­tage on the rim of the basin, we could see that it was not an iron vein, nor any oth­er nat­u­ral­ly occur­ring fea­ture that I am famil­iar with. It was clear­ly a band of ruby-red crys­tal, per­haps a half-mile wide. The way the light played off it leads me to believe that the crys­tal band is quite thick, run­ning dozens, per­haps hun­dreds, of feet into the face of the moun­tain. The band con­tin­ued all the way to the tree­line before it was lost to vision. Haig approached Nin and asked her about the moun­tains and the red band, but Nin demurred: the moun­tains are dan­ger­ous and the Kerr do not trav­el there. Only the Wemic, a Nephelese tribe held by the Kerr in a mix of awe and fear, trav­el in the moun­tains, which are their ter­ri­to­ry. She had no idea what the red band was and seemed reluc­tant to even look at it.

In the late after­noon we arrived at one of the large towns, called Pel Daro (pel dah-roo), on the shore of the lake. I esti­mate the pop­u­la­tion of the town at between three and five thou­sand. I was impressed by the size of it, the per­ma­nence of the build­ings, the advanced state of the cul­ture. But it did lit­tle to pre­pare me for what came next. We trav­eled through the town, toward the shore and, round­ing a cor­ner, caught an unob­struct­ed view of the east­ern­most por­tion of the lake, which had until then been shield­ed from view by a promon­to­ry on the south side of the lake. Extend­ing out from the town was a wide cause­way, per­haps two miles long, and at the far end, seem­ing­ly built on the sur­face of the lake, was a large city, eas­i­ly as big as some of the largest cities in Wahla­gia. Struck by the rays of the set­ting sun, the bright­ly paint­ed walls of the build­ings and three large pyra­mids were daz­zling to behold.

None of the set­tlers had any idea that Nephele con­tained any cities at all, let alone one as large as this. Sir Everett will be inter­est­ed indeed to learn of what we’ve seen, and I won­der if that was not the inten­tion of Perd. This march has been a suc­ces­sion of grander and grander dis­cov­er­ies, lead­ing even­tu­al­ly to this view of Daro. Were we meant to be impressed by the pow­er and grandeur of the Kerr? Perd had shown clear signs of desir­ing friend­ship with the set­tlers, but it is obvi­ous now that were we to spurn that friend­ship, the Kerr could destroy Grig­gston as eas­i­ly as swat­ting a gnat. What’s more, I’m led to con­sid­er the impli­ca­tions of this con­cern­ing the Tumon Con­fed­er­a­cy. Our hosts report­ed to us that the Kerr had pre­vi­ous­ly held much of the Head­land, the region around Blue­bay, but Perd had ordered that region aban­doned in the face of the Tumon encroach­ing from the north. How mighty must the Tumon be to set to flight a peo­ple as numer­ous and strong as the Kerr?

Daro, Kerr Cap­i­tal

That night, our hosts showed us around Daro, which they seemed near­ly as amazed by as we. At one point, per­haps incred­u­lous from the mag­ni­tude of our dis­cov­er­ies, Haig attempt­ed to dis­cern whether what we were see­ing was a mere illu­sion. He found that the our envi­rons were indeed per­me­at­ed by a low lev­el of mag­ic, but not illu­so­ry. Rather, he observed an aura of trans­mu­ta­tion. As I under­stand such things, trans­mu­ta­tion is a kind of mag­ic asso­ci­at­ed with changes to real­i­ty, as when a wiz­ard trans­forms into a raven. Curi­ous.

We retired to our com­mu­nal hous­ing, not­ing that Pas­cal was not with us. I wor­ry for him, but skulk­ing about is what he does, so I shan’t lose any sleep over it.

Experience

30 expe­ri­ence per play­er for atten­dance

30 expe­ri­ence total for all

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