Society Name: The Eerith
Action 1: explore the Mytic happenings to the West.
The chill night air was still, and the dune sea stretched to the eastern horizon. Far in the distance the small lights of a harbour town glowed to the west.
Two men sat about a campfire despondantly, while a caravan slept about them
"Trade is getting words each time. Those heathens of the desert are too superstitious."
"Hmpf" the other grunted. "They spend too long in the heat - the see things. This is no place for man or beast"
They lapsed into silence again.
The fire flickered and went out. A chill breeze struck the camp.
On the eastern horizon, a wall of dust swept towards them. Lightening played about the top of the storm. Relentlessly, the storm came rushing across the small camp, engulfing it in the elemental force of the desert.
* * * * * * *
The storm subsided. The two men lay still on the floor of the tent.
Slowly they rose, cautiously they stretched, and watched each other move to unheard music. A midnight dance.
One spoke, his voice flowed from his chest, overtones and harmonics filling the air. A song of many parts slowly forming the words:
"We have much to do."
Outside, six other men were forming a circle. The two from the tent joined them.
"Where do we go?"
A faint glow passed across their joined bodies.
In a line, they passed out of the camp towards the town to the west.
The horses stamped fretfully at the passing of these men who were no longer their masters. The desert lapsed into silence once more.
* * * * * * * *
Summary: the Seekers take human form and go into the town to see first hand what is going on. They want to find those responsible for the second prison that formed and dissapeared...
Determinant: ? Magic Sophistication ?
Mods: + last years success...
+ Hidden among the populace - very close observation...
- They may not know what they are doing - they might stand out...
Primary: Since there isn't a magic version of Craft, yet by all accounts this should not just be based on sophistication (their wealth of knowledge and skill) but their skill at creating an illusion, which is a magical artefact, rather like pottery (the Craft determinant) is an art determinant artefact, wrt to passing off as people, which I'm not convinced is something they'd do too often even though they're possessing humans, I'm going to use the mean of Magic sophistication & diversity therefore, "Magic Craft" = Great (+2).
Result = +2 +1 +1 -1 + (-1 -1 0 -1) = 0 Partial success.
The eight Eerith, in human form, enter the settlement of Myr-KŻn unopposed. The obvious signs of sorcery all around them make them wary. The local inhabitants are a mixture of Shadowlands desert traders, herdsmen from the river valley which ends at the small town, and Mirish sorcerers.
The sight of the Balpuri spellcasters confounds the infiltrators and almost causes a panic. How the sorcerers could have travelled from Mir so far so quickly is a complete mystery. News from the Defenders put them deep in the Calarnar desert. Walking the mists would've alerted the Eerith of their presence. Yet there they are.
In their guise as desert traders, the Eerith are unable to interact directly with the sorcerers, but rather with their apprentices. Knowledge of Mir and magery would give the game away, so the Eerith make circumspect enquiries, trying to avoid detection.
It seems the Balpuri have had a settlement in the far west a long time, which is surprising news. Loose talk from the apprentices slowly allow the Eerith to piece together some clues, before they are forced to depart in order to avoid attracting unwanted attention for remaining in the settlement for too long a time.
It appears the outpost is ruled by a Grand Archmage. His exact relationship to the Archmage in Mirabalpur was not made clear. The apprentices rarely mentioned Mir, and when they did it was either to mock, or to admire. Apparently the Grand Archmage and some other spellcasters had been experimenting with ancient thaumaturgical literature, dating from the time of the Annaeyana disaster. How they could possibly have obtained the material is a riddle for the Eerith, as all such texts were presumed destroyed along with the sorcerers who had been on Annaeyana at the time of the revolt, or else still in Annaeyana.
The chilling possibility that the Sorcerers somehow had continued access to the libraries on Annaeyana dawned on the visitors...
Action 2-4 Prepare an ambush for the Sorcerors.
The Catayarsh whined. It's feet splayed across the sands, tail twitched tiredly. It's cat-like head turned to glance at it's rider.
"Master, why are we stuck with these smelly beasts again? Why didn't we just scry for the Eerith, or just walk the mists?"
"Be silent. Hardship focuses the mind. Be glad for the experience."
The apprentice shrugged and muttered obsenities under his breath. Kerek ignored him while he surveyed the desert before him. This scouting mission was not going well so far. The Arch-Mage had been making them take on a round about course, turning at random moments, driven by some unknown obsession.
But the danger was real. Even though still an unknown quantity. The Eerith that had been captured for a while by the high council had provided little real information, but it had driven them here to see for themselves.
Despite the assurances of those in the know, Kerek was still unsure. He glanced back at his apprentice again, and then down at the foul smelling Catayarsh. He wrinkled his nose in disgust at this assignment, There was nothing out here. The remaining Eerith were already dealt with, and one or two of them could never hinder their plans for Qaiyore.
"Sitting here on these ugly desert cats is getting us nowhere!"
The boy would not survive the tests this year. Too impatient. What the hell was he looking for anayway. 'Look for evidence of magic use' was what he had been told. Now that was a great help. If he saw a drop of water, he would declare it a miracle!
The catayarsh stiffened and shined below him. Across the desert haze Kerek saw the oasis that had caught it's attention. Smiling, he led his now silent apprentice towards the water that they were in great need of. He poured the contents of his water-flask onto his painfully sunburned back. Now they could really cool down.
* * * * * * * *
"Sir, the path stops here."
"Hmm." The sergent looked down at the tracks. some of the sand was damp.
"Why would he empty his water flasks? There isn't any water for miles about. He knows that the next water stop is about 3 days travel away. This is strange."
He loked up from the sand and up at the bright blue sky. The sun burned mercilessly into his skin. The clear weather had been with them the entire trip, not a drop of rain, and the heat was taking it's toll on the men.
"Sir, I've found their mounts.."
Partially buried in the sand were a pair of catayarsh, still with saddles strapped to their backs. sand drifted fitfully acoss their bodies, slowly covering them.
* * * * * * * *
Summary: The rest of the Eerith are taking the mages that are approaching and throwing them into the Prison atop Annaeyana. They are trying to take the mages only one or two at a time, and avoiding any conflicts.
Basically, try to remove all the mages before they even come into sight of Annaeyana. The Eerith are staying on alert for any possible attack by the Sorcerors, but are settin up ambushes all along the course the mages are taking.
Task: Terribly Hard (-3) - the Sorcerers are led by the Archmage.
Primary: Magic Craft again = +2
Mods: ++ Triple action (using every trick they can think about)
+ The Eerith are preparing for any eventuality. Always watching the Mages from a distance.
- Being very cautious to never actually hurt the mages, they have to be able to use their magic to get out of the prison - to open it for the Eerith.
- The mages are changing course all the time, and avoid using magic that will draw attention to them. They are trying desperately to arrive unnanounced an Annaeyana, and have a feeling that the Eerith may be up to something - They were caught too easily in Mir, and escaped too easily as well.
Result: +2 -3 +2 +1 -1 -1 + (+1 0 -1 +1) = +1 Success!
Slowly but surely, the Eerith manage to pick off the Sorcerers in ones and twos, and unload them on Annaeyana, unhurt in all but pride. As winter draws near, the majority of the expedition's spellcasters and their apprentices are locked away on the floating city. Trapped by the same forces that hold the imprisoned Eerith, and angry at being tricked, the captured Sorcerers begin to explore the city, hoping to find a means of escape.
The remains of the Mirish expedition camp within sight of the southern turn of the city's flight. The Archmage and his remaining six companions contemplate the drifting testament to their decline. By the time the sorcerers had realised what was going on, it was too late. The Eerith had kidnapped or possibly murdered dozens of their fellow spellcasters. Lacking in manpower, and shattered by the long journey, the Archmage considered his options.
That the Eerith, or at least some, were free, was now all too obvious. All their efforts to arrive undetected had been an utter waste of time. Dozens of powerful mages had been lost to the malevolent spirits. His attempt to gain aid from the forgotten disciples of death had failed. New but unappealing avenues appeared to be the only prospects.
Gathering the six, the Archmage spoke of his decisions. Any attempt to pursue the Eerith at this moment in time, in their own backyard, would compound the disaster.
Opening a path to the mists, the sorcerers left the desolation of the lifeless wilderness.
Overhead, Annaeyana continued her doomed journey.