Barrakas 6, 1001 YK
The village was closing for the evening—people seeking their beds and retreating to the comfort of walls and roofs. Lamenting the lack of entertaining nightlife, the party found themselves returning to the ruins of their manor. It was early evening, and they lacked any particular will to sleep yet.
Werem pointed out that they had yet to explore the basement space of their manor, so he and Vaeris headed down into the gloom. Baelana stayed above in case the stairs should collapse, and escape was needed. Beneath the house, the party found nothing but rotten refuse. Here might have been a storeroom, once filled with sparkling preserves and root vegetables. There might have been a workshop, though the intervening years and moisture have reduced the tools to naught be rust. Beneath the old great hall they found an equally sized space that may once have been seperated by thin partition walls—all collapsed now. Along the walls there is evidence of flooding; perhaps the river had swollen its banks and washed through here.
Returning to the main level, they rolled their great barrel of ale up near the walls and sat down for a drink. Hunger was poking at their bellies, and so Werem sent Vaeris off to look for firewood. Finding only wet and rot, he came back empty handed, and so all supped on cold jerky and beer.
They briefly discussed the Lord P’arven’s letter, and what it might mean. Fearing that assassins may have followed on their coattails all the way from Moonhaven, the party set up watches. Werem and Vaeris were to stand the first evening, Ebrin and Baelana the second—thereafter they would alternate.
Morning brought a disheartening sight: Werem wracked with fever, with skin the colour of death. Some time during the night, a deep sickness had invaded his lungs and spread through his body. In those few short hours his strength had sapped, and his will crushed. Vaeris, a physician by sometimes-profession, examined his friend and determined that the illness was potentially quite dire. In this jungle swamp, illnesses can take hold with a vengeance.
Calling up on his old necromantic powers, Vaeris channeled dark and unforgiving energies into Werem’s fragile form. With black light shining out through his skin, and pain drawn on his features like a rictus, Werem coughed forth black and cancerous lumps. “These should be burned. Let no one stand downwind of the fire” Vaeris instructed Baelana, who went in search of wood to build the needed fire. The dark magics had sapped Werem of what little energy he had left. Painted with bruises from the purging darkness, he curled back into his bedroll too sore to be of much help to anyone.
Baelana, always the more capable survivalist in the group, returned with enough wood for both a cooking fire and the purging flames. How Vaeris missed all the good wood, the evening before, she didn’t know.
Fearing for the continued health of their friend, Vaeris and Ebrin decide to enter the jungle in search of medicinal leaves. Vaeris is searching for specific ingredients for poultices, while Ebrin is well versed in locating useful herbs. It doesn’t take them long to find, and soon enough they return to the ruined manor with their prize. A healing draught is made for Werem, and he is left to rest. Although the tea tastes nasty, Werem has never trully had a sensitive palate, and so doesn’t notice.
While they wait for the village to awaken, they discuss the source of the illness. The moldy, rotten refuse in the basement is fingered as the cause, and they worry that the illness will strike again if they stay within the manor.
During this, the wagons began to keen. The party had wondered what Lord P’arven had meant when discussing the wagon’s breakdown, and now worried that an explosion was going to take the wagons right in front of the manor. Luckily this was not the case, with the wagons simply coming apart as if all the nails and screws had vanished.
Baelana noticed a thick, ruddy oil leaking from the artificer cores, and new she was seeing an arcane waste leak. Such substances are quite toxic, poisoning the soil for years, and sickening people and livestock. Immediately she set to work separating items touched by the sludge, from those that had not, as well as digging up any soil that had absorbed even the smallest drop.
She sent Vaeris and Ebrin into town to find some sort of container that might hold fifty litres of soil, so they could keep the contaminant contained. They return with a large cast iron cauldron, that Errol had been storing waste coals in.
Working through the afternoon Baelana shovelled, and sweated, ensuring that none of the poison could spread. Finally, with the sun long below the horizon, she sealed the cauldron closed and declared the work complete. At which point Vaeris helpfully pointed out that she was on watch for the evening. He and Werem promptly drank themselves into a stupor, and drifted into unconsciousness.
Barrakas 9, 1001 YK
Miraculously, Baelana’s murderous tendencies did not rise to the occasion and both Werem and Vaeris lived to awaken the next morning. With morning’s light comes discussion of what to do about the mold growing the basement.
Vaeris suggested fire as the cleansing agent, while Ebrin thought something chemical might be better. Ebrin pointed out that fire would damage the structure, and that they’d have to wear some breathing apparatus to which Vaeris countered that chemicals might be hard to find here. Baelana weighed in suggesting that black-lung really should be avoided, and so thought that fire was probably the worst plan. Werem stayed out the conversation, for the most part, save for pointing out prevailing wind was away from the village.
Deciding to address the question later, Baelana and Ebrin head into the village to see if the locals have any particular solution to the mold problem. Werem gathered his equipment, and headed to a nearby copse of trees to set up his portal still. Vaeris took a short walk across to the swamp to gather peat.
It was at the door to the inn, while in conversation with Magaera, that Baelana and Ebrin were hit with a shockwave. A thunderous explosion summoning forth a pillar of fire, painting the sky with greasy black smoke.
With sinking stomachs, they knew the source of this fire: the manor. Rushing back, they find Werem trying to save bundles of burning equipment and supplies. They had only been gone an hour, but return to find nothing but destruction.
The interior floors were burnt and collapsed, the walls cracked and masonry strewn about the yard. Vaeris was staggering about, burnt and bloodied by debris, muttering “Two parts alcohol, five parts peat, is wrong. just wrong.” while giggling to himself.
Ebrin’s equipment was the most damaged—all her fine court dresses were burnt beyond recovery. Vials from the P’arven boxes were shattered and leaking their precious contents. The party’s trail rations charred and inedible. Luckily the cauldron of toxic waste was unscathed.
The barrel of Ale was shattered and burnt. “You’re so dead, Vaeris. Dead.” Ebrin was heard to say.
The salvaged remains of the artificer wagons were sparking and glowing with unnatural colours as their magics burnt away. A quick check, tells Baelana that the parts are a write-off.
Naturally, the explosion had drawn a crowd: every able bodied man, woman and child had gathered near the manor. They didn’t approach, merely stood back while the party argued with each other. No doubt every word was remembered, and gossiped about later.
While they argued, they did not notice the community’s elders quietly ushering people away. Some things are not be done in public. Eventually the party noticed they were being watched, and yet still had trouble showing a unified front. If any amongst the observers were inclined to play party members against each other, they were given ample ammunition.
Errol, Bedwyr, Mobley, and two others stood and watched the party argue. One, a man wearing only leather shorts, and painted with tattoos would soon introduce himself as Danel of the Fishers. The fifth, an unkempt middle-aged man was roundly assumed to be the hermit whom the players had yet to meet.
It was Danel who spoke up, causing a firestorm of his own, by suggesting punitive action. “Three days in the stocks, I am thinking.” he mentioned, sidelong, to the unkempt middle-aged man. “Maybe this might teach a lesson?”
It is only Vaeris who objected to this, with the elders remaining silent while Ebrin and Baelana vocally acquiesce to the demand. Both afraid of losing any good will the party may still be able to salvage from the village and perhaps seeking some redress for their ruined belongings.
Vaeris argued bitterly with both his party members and Danel, citing arguments from risk to his already fragile health, to accusing the elders of seeking to simply exert power. His final arguement pointed out that the manor was abandoned and no one was harmed.
The arguments with Danel turned extremely vitriolic and threatened to become a serious situation. Vaeris turned from arguments with the elder to focus his pleas on his party; saying that for the destruction of their property he owes them a debt but otherwise this is an internal matter. Ebrin and Baelana however are steadfast, not willing to force the conflict with Danel further, though with firm requirements that Vaeris’ health not suffer as a result. Danel claims that it is not in the villages interest that Vaeris be harmed, just that he suffer retribution for the disruption.
Finally Vaeris turns to the silent Werem in one last appeal, however Werem seems content to throw in his vote with Ebrin and Baelana, simply saying “it seems for the best”.
“I’m doing this for you, not for them” Vaeris says to his party members. “Justify it to yourself however you wish. Either way, it will happen.” Danel retorts.
In silence, the group is lead back towards the Inn, where stocks have been hastily erected. Vaeris, a sour look upon his face, does not resist his confinement, while the others head into the inn to get warm food and a drink.
Shortly thereafter it begins to rain, a light rain that soaks slowly into everything. Odd, really, given Werem was sure that they were expecting at least a few days of cloud-free sun. He’s usually very good about the weather.
The next few days pass quickly, with the three free party members enjoying the hospitality of the inn, while Vaeris suffers public spectacle. The villagers, though, pay him little mind. Unlike in Sharn, no-one pelts him with rotten fruit or makes his life misterable. Mostly people ignore him, save for the hermit who drops by occasionally to check on his health.
Barrakas 12, 1001 YK
With the party whole, once more, they begin the task of figuring out what to do about the manor house. Baelana is fairly convinced that the stone walls might need some new mortar and supports, and a real architect might be useful. But first, they all agree, the basement must be cleared of all the ash and fallen timber. And so they begin to dig. After about a week, Vaeris is strong enough to join in the physical labours.
The four of the them working together is quite the image of efficiency, and so they proceed quite quickly. They reach a point where a single individual would likely be able to complete the work in a week or two, which is about the time they figure it would take to get to Serenissima and find a builder or two to help supervise the reconstruction.
Barrakas 21, 1001 YK
And so the plan is hatched: Werem will stay behind and excavate the remainders of the basement, while Ebrin, Baelana and Vaeris will travel to Serenissima and see what they can find. Hopefully they can get back before the season of storms begins.
Meanwhile, Werem’s portable still has been gurgling away for a while now. Perhaps soon its brew will be ready. But what about that flower he added, for flavouring1?
1 Werem critically failed Brewing roll.