The party is continuing on their journey to the village of the Seela. The burning grove is located about a mile north of the Seela village, there is a deep walled gorge that once held a stream. No oher major roads of pathways come to the river. Everybody was contemplating the song that they were hearing. As they got closer to the village, the intensity increased with the song. The words unfamiliar and alien to everybody, but the meaning very clear. The strangely familiar rhythm blends of loss and longing and a memory of beauty. Which will not be abandoned no matter how thickly death surrounds and entraps. One can not help but feel weak at the beauty of it. This is the song of the Seela.
In the party is Horatio, when traveling he is always in the back, as the rest of the party is keeping a lively pace, talking with one another, he is always the quiet one. He is always the enigma of the group, the one with the stone face, when someone ever tries to talk to him, he just gives quick reply, somewhat being annoyed that someone is talking to him. With the song, Horatio is clearly affected by the sadness. Orihime occasionally looks back to Horatio, she tries to put it in the back of her head, but finally breaks and drops back to try and talk to him.
After a moment of gathering her words, she finally spits out “Are you alright Horatio, I hear the song too, and feel the same way.”
Horatio’s face quickly turned back into stone that everyone is familiar with. “I’m fine, Just lets keep walking.” he said as he took a couple of heavy steps with all the weight of his armor.
They finally come to a spot where they can see the lake and the village. Between the clouds, smoke, and ash in the air that basically blocks most of the sunlight day and night, the glow of the fire gives enough light to see a body of liquid roughly 2 miles across it looks like a lake but only completely flat black, once they get close enough a small creek appears, Calynna reaches down takes a handful of water, and see’s that it has a thin layer of ash floating on top “So that is why it is black” she spouted off to the rest of the group as she tried to wash her hand off from the black ash. The water is a slightly cool 200 degrees Fahrenheit. The fire of the forest has burned and boiled away much of the original lake. Off to the north east side of the lake is the Seela village, not far from the white river. They can tell the song is coming a large watch tower in the middle of the village with a few Seela singing from the parapets. It is magnified from here as it bounces off the cliffs so that it sounds like a chorus of dozens. All around the lake, there are caves that just lead away into darkness. To the south side of the lake they see Guenevere’s pool. Indomitablity himself is pinned to the floor of the lake just outside the Seela village. After much of the lake was been boiled away, the lake is still roughly 20′ deep where the Stag is.
Katrina dropps her hood of her cloak and suddenly her stride suddenly changes the way she is carying herself. Instead of looking like a warrior she now looks more fragile, more like a woman. She quickly rushes ahead of the rest of the group, and puts a good distance between the group and her. Randal quickly follows her, the only look on Kat’s face is that of annoyance, wondering how she attracted such a person. She mumbles to herself, “Why did we accept the deal from Indomitably, it seemed like a good deal at the time, but now it’s just a pain.”
Tigger turns to Torrent, “If we kill the stag, will the flames of the forest go out?”
Torrent gives Tigger a odd look, “If it dies, We die. Everything that is indomitable, including us gets consumed. I am wondering if there is a way to releasing his captivity without killing.”
Finally they came off to a drop to where the village is below. Crude huts ring the tower, and a pathway leads to the caves piercing on the old lake bed. A burning wall of brush line exists along the shoreline. It’s placement seems to be defensive and not a natural feature, Like someone planted them exactly where they were needed. To the south side of the village, there is a large stone wall. A small revine cuts into the lake bed revealing a ramp to a large hut.
Kat and Randall reached the village ahead of the rest by a good amount of time, and wanders around the huts aimlessly. On the southern edge of the villiage, she encounters a Seela, he appears to be thicker and more well fed than Tilljon.
He looks at her, “Who are you?”
Looking as innocent as possible, “My name is Katrina, I am trying to find a stag along with some food and a place to stay.”
He watches her for a second, looking at her up and down. “Welcome to our villiage Katrina, I’m Vol. What you are looking at is out in the lake, over there” He pointed to the lake and a glowing mass that could be seen even threw the layer of ash.“I have some toasted nuts and fruit here in my cave, and also a place to sit down”. To nearly everybody, Vol seems very suspicious, and not very trustworthy.
Katrina was to the point she didn’t really care she walked in, sat down age a few bites as Vol looked at her. Finally she stood up and stated “Pardon me, I have someone I need to go talk to”, and started to get ready to swim out. She was handing all of her stuff to Randall. As she entered the water, Randall just sat at the shoreline, and the rest of the party entered the villiage.
“This is our Village, a total of fifty Seela live here.” said Tilljon, “Seventeen singers continue the song of forms in shifts, Including herself and Papavein our leader. The other thirty two are the rebels.”
“Rebels?” said Horatio in a questioning voice
Torrent just said “The ones that are just tired of singing for 60 years and just want to die. But it sounds like there are twice as many rebels as singers”
Calynna asks, “If there are 50 Seela, 17 singers, and 32 rebels, that is 51, Where is the extra one”
“No it is 49, and the MISSING one name is Vol you thick headed blond” Quickly spouted off Rhyslan.
Tigger listening to the music being constantly sung, asks Tilljon “Is there a way to end the singing without releasing the Stag?”
“That is a question for Papavein” replied Tilljon.
The group starts to walk up the path cut into the cliff side, Out of the large hut comes Papavein to greet everybody. He is obviously the villiage elder, and appears to be very honorable and trustworthy. He immediately comes up to Tilljon very concerned, and looking her over. He looks over at the group “Who are you all?” he stated like we tried to harm her.
“Hello there, we are the good guys” Spouting off Calynna with a smile.
“ugg” said Torrent, “Greetings sir, we are travelers, we encountered Tilljon on our path, and escorted her back here to make sure she stays safe”
Horatio from the back “And we don’t like this Fire”
Torrent continues “And is there anything we can do to help the village with this fire?”
“Yes, yes, of course,” he said with his elder crackling voice “come on inside, make yourselves comfortable.”
Inside the party finds something unusual, Green plants, some have fruit on them. The air is sweet like newly mowed hay. A small spring spouts water that is ice cold and refreshing. Papavein almost demands that we speak of our adventures.
As a group the party speaks of it’s adventures. Everybody wanted to throw their perspective on all the things they have done.
Half way into telling the tales, Katrina bursts in, and sits down. Randall of course is not that far behind. Kat has just a scolding look on her face, and Randall just starts in telling tales with all the rest of the party. Papavein seems kinda suspicious towards Kat. When it came to the part about meeting Condrovon, Tilljon throws in her side of things, that she was visiting the burning grove as requested, and was surprised. Papavein says to the whole group, “welcome, welcome, welcome. everybody to stay at my place. Stay cool here in my cave and rest here from the heat of the forest fire for a few days, so take a load off. All I have to worry about is to keep focus on my duty, keep singing the song. Which I have to leave now and sing my part of the song.” Papavein and Tilljon get up to leave “You are free to talk to anybody in the villiage”
Calynna also stands up, “May I Join you?” she directs at Tilljon. With a nod she agrees
Rhyslan, Tigger, and Torrent get up and walk out into the village to talk to people. Kat was still being quiet in the corner. She just pulls out her daggers and starts making sure that they are razor sharp. Randall just stays by her watching, almost memorized by Kat’s motions. Horatio, just breaths a sign as he takes off part of his armour. Orihime senses the frustration in Kat, and just starts to pray to her god that She be healed.
At the evening meal, everybody is gathered and shared what they learned with one another.
Tilljon is tired of singing the song, but knows it is her duty to continue, she is eager to find a solution that does not involve singing forever. She is trying to study the ways of magic from a book given to her when her destiny song was sung. She put it away many years ago when she took up her duty of the song. But thinks it’s magic may provide the means of escape from the fire. She will not share it with anybody. Her favorite part of the song is the tale of the long walker. It relates the story of Tenifey, a bard who escaped the forest to find help. A profecy of his journey came from Timbre ‘thy heart shall be found and torn asunder and in thy desolate doom thy song shall stay the agony of the world.’ She continually wonders what the proficy means, and wants to go to Sequin and start searching for answers.
Vol has had a revelation that life is meaningless. His latest thing he says is ‘free from the song of suffering, free from the song of death’ He advocates that freeing the jail and letting their spirits die. He gets dizzy whenever the ‘living blade’ verse of the song is sung, ‘So as we were born from the first tree, so as from our homelands breast was cut a living blade, as this our lives are bound to thee, the forest heart, and Timbre’s blade.’ he often gets a little angry over complaining that the sword traps the Seela in oppressive slavery. He has left the village often the past few weeks. He disappears form many hours, and reappears in the early mornings. Early one morning a young Seela seen Vol hop over the wall, he thought he seen Vol’s feet were tentacles, but when he looked again the legs were normal.
Papavein tells the history behind the song of forms every day before the evening meal. The original propose of the song was to give a body to the native spirit of the forest for holy festivals, and invoke real images of the events told. The first words of the song are ‘Life is a dream that has found it’s form, I sing these dreams, these tales, the legends that they may be born’. It’s a manifestation spell, of the fire of the forest. He believes that the song of forms is the key to freeing the Seela, Tradition has always allowed the tales of the song to change, He believes it has the power to not only tell the past but bind the future. The ones that still sing, are encouraged to change their stories and sing new songs. He thinks Timbre might know how this works, but is unable to get past her guardians and talk with her.
The lake monsters that exist, they are the twisted children of the lake nymph Guenevere, whose obsessive and jealous love for Anariel made her bitter rivals with Timbre. On Anariel’s Death, Guenevere retreated to the far end of the lake. Her grief of Anarials death twisted her into a old hag. She occasionally appears by the wall of a village cackling like a old crone, waving a lock of hair, half sobbing, half laughing ‘Anarial is mine, she will never be lost again.’ The lake creatures stop for a while when Gurenevere is given a animal sacrifice. And when she eats, she does nothing but speak of her love for Anarial, and her hatred of Timbre.
Timbre is often heard in the Forrest weaping for her lost love. The Seela that hear her, will dream the same dream for a week. They see Timbre laying a lock of her loves hair at her statue, when the shrine of Anarial was dedicated, they also hear Timbre talking to the statue, as she touches the blade Anarial holds ‘ The gift of my heart binds all to thee, threw the sacrafice of thy life and need.’ Tilljon may know more to the meaning of this. The first tree of the forest is in Timbre’s grove, the one to which she is bound, was believed to be planted by a dragon of old by the name Ceana, whenever it seems to be spoken, the forest whispers it back with a sadness and joy that is almost unreconcilable, but always reaches a harmonious end. When the moon is full, and her name is spoken into the hollow of a tree, all the trees of the forest bow to the dragon that gave them their home land.
Once the evening meal was over. Everybody goes to their huts and caves for the night, and everyone in the party rests for the night.
When the party wakes up in what they think is morning, they all look at one another, not sure what to do as their next step.
Kat finally breaks the silence, “Enough of this, I am going to let this thing loose, and end all of this in a single go. I don’t care about no sword, If you all want to follow me, that is up to you, but I am doing this quickly, if you don’t want to follow, Good Luck” She gets up points at Papavein and demands “You! Outside! NOW!!!”
Torrent looked at Kat, “Who died and made you a God?”
Kat snapped back “Do Not Start With Me!” she aimed at Torrent, while showing her daggers. “I am going to end this, Do you wish to Live?”
Papavein just smiles at Kat, and walks outside of the cave.
Kat just jumps to buisness, “Is there any way to negotiate for the release of the Stag, provided that the fire goes away once the release happens?”
Papavein tells Kat, “If the fire goes away, we all die, the forest dies, and everything dies”
Kat just spits out “I can negotiate the lives of your people if you authorize this release”
“We are the one in charge of imprisoning him, I don’t think that is going to happen. Many Seela lost their lives making sure he staid there” Papavein said.
Kat getting a bit desperate “I can guarantee….”
Papavein interrupts, “I can not sanction anything like that, it is my job to keep the song going, so the forest never dies.
Kat now getting mad pulls out a water skin that was spiked with sleeping pills.
Papavein tells Kat, “No I am the host, it is my job to provide for you”
Kat trying everything to be civil, “Yes, To your health…” and tries to offer the skin to him.
Papavein insists “I can not take your provisions”
Kat starting to get mad, “I have plenty”
Papavein repeats “I can not take your provisions” holding up his hands indicating he is refusing the skin, “ I have done nothing but help you, I took you into my home, and you threaten my life”
Kat takes a deep breath, and puts the skin back, and raises her hand to the door offering to go back inside. Papavein walks back into the cave entrance. Kat quickly pulls out a dagger and with the hilt, whacks the back of Papavein’s head.
As Papavein drops to the floor out cold, Oriheme, Torrent, and Calynna quickly stand up. Torrent Shouts out, “What did you just do?”, Oriheme begins to walk over to Papavein about to heal him. Calynna stood there with her mouth open in shock.
“Don’t you dare touch him” Barked Katalyna toward Oriheme while pointing her dagger at her “Rhyslan and Randall, Tie him up.”
Rhyslan signaled Horatio to get up and help them, and they took their ropes, and tied up Papavein while Tigger ovserved to make sure he was not seriously harmed
Oriheme, Torrent and Calynna left out of the cave upset at the actions of Kat. They were soon joined by the rest of the group. Kat was the last one out the door and shouts “Again, if you all want to live, Follow me!” she said, not trying to hide the anger in her voice. “We heard what the Old man had to say, Nothing, I am going with Vol, and what he has?”
When the party gets there, there are two Seela with nhim seated on the cusions with him. When Kat charges in, he stands and points to the entrance, and the two stand and leave passing by everybody on their way out. Vol welcomed in the party, “Welcome everybody, you are from beyond, The song is strengthened by your notes, and we rejoice with new harmony does your presence bring.” Tigger, Orihime, Calynna and Torrent stay standing at the entrance. Vol offers everybody some toasted acorns, “the finest feast the forest has to offer, it may seem meek, it is a rich bounty for all to partake” but none of the party accept. He offers some medium size cushions are about the floor, his wiry body moves almost with the wind, the smell of death is all about the room.
Kat is always down to business, “I have come to negotiate the end of this fire permanently. Would you want to work with us or against us”
Vol replied back “No one more than me wants to see that happen, I have been just trying to let it happen. What is with your attacks, I have opened my house to everybody. This is the best I have”
Rhyslan joins in “we do wish to release the stag so we all can be free”
“My thoughts on this are like a hoarse with a broken back, quick is better than slow and suffering. I help stop the song, the song ends, he is released. The song is what keeps him”
Horatio with his deep voice just says, “you may want to die, I do not..”
Kat asks, “How do I stop the song?”
Vol smiles, “That is going to take something dramatic something that has to end the song for several seconds, what I need you to do is something like get Timbre in town and kill her?”
Rhyslan angry tone said “No deaths, you outnumber them, why don’t you just force the song to stop”
Vol looks at him, “Even her have suffered and burned these last two score years, she has grown mad, even the most callas can grant her mercy.” Vol slumps as he releases a sigh “The weary can no longer fight the song of life now sustains unlife and endless torment, so too I been broken, I no longer have the will to continue, and Timbre will is unreadable. Your fate and ours seem to be meshed, for we both see the end of the song as the best way of leaving this forest. I know how the end can come” and the impression he gives is that he is telling the truth, but there seems to be more that he is not saying.
Kat points to Torrent, “Lets talk for a moment” and they step outside they return and immediately Kat states off “I have a Idea, we have Papavein tied up in his cave, if we bring him into the center of town, that may be shocking enough. Then when everyone is shocked by that, we all drug them and the song will stop while they are drugged. That will release indomitably.”
Vol looks at him, pleased that Kat is trying to help him, “I am afraid that won’t be shocking enough, if it was Timbre, that WOULD be shocking and stop the song, Finding her might be impossible, she has been driven mad with grief for her lost love, and surrounded by creatures, if she had something to bring her out of her madness, such as a lock of hair that she layed at her loves statue, that may be good enough to get to her.
Kat storms out of the cave, but turns back “my plan will work, and I will grant your wish for death”
Once everyone is out of the cave, Kat passes out sleeping pills to everyone, “Here is the plan, we shove these down the throat of everybody. Everyone work as fast as they can”
Orihime and Calynna just look at Kat dumbfounded, and pass their pills off to the rest of the party as they watch Kat and Randall go up to Papavein’s cave. Orihime continues to pray, and Calynna pulls out her flute.
The party emerge from the cave with a Papavein over Horatio’s shoulder, in the center of all the huts, by the watch tower, Kat yells out to everybody in earshot, “Now hear this, I have your leader, if you want him to live, come and see him.”
About nine Seela come out, and Kat shouts out the word now. The group rushes to the Seela and try to drug each of them, the shock made the five get to one each, and the Seela go out cold, when thy were heading to the second target, they just disapear. The five gather around Papavein, the Seela that were druged almost immediately woke up, the drugs were inefective.
Kat looked at Orihime and Calynna, “Why did you not help?” he said in anger and disgust. Calynna playing a lulluby tune, aimed at Kat, “That is not going to work on me,” Kat starting to get thirsty, reaches back to grab a drink of water, opens it up, and takes a swig “Now lets go kill a mad wo…” The lulluby tune Calynna was playing, made Kat forget that her water skins was drugged by her, the drugs hit her immediately. Orihime made sure she was not face down and would wake up alright. She then went over to Papavein and untied all of the rope, and cast a healing spell so he would wake up with Kat.
“Now if you will all listen to me, and get your mind in the right places, let us go rid ourselves from this curse, the proper way, without any innocent bloodshed.” Calynna starts to walk off playing a traveling tune, and has a bit of spring in her step, The party leaves Kat there to rest of the drugs she self ingested