Scribe and Rube

“-dead people back among the living, and we headed to the northwest to start on the bats and junk there.”

The small, roguish urchin looks up at her with wide, dark eyes, as though expecting her to take notes.

“That is relevant to the events in the Sleeping Moon…how, pray tell?” asks the scribe.

“I dunno. I just thought you’d want some background. Don’t ask me how you put together these things.”

The scribe sighs. “Mirith wants a basic summary about the events in Foehan, as well as some insight into what treasures you recovered. Perhaps a possible explanation. Anything else is superfluous, I must admit.”

“And you wonder why I don’t write these myself,” retorts the rogue, sticking out her tongue.

The scribe curls her nose in disgust. “You are lucky that I am paid handsomely to handle…rapscallions such as yourself, else I would retreat to my study and leave your adventures unreported.”

“That would suck.”

A pause.

“So after you handled the bone mage and its allies—which you never made clear if they were the result of Sopor’s malicious magicks or the usual detritus in Foehan—you discovered…some sort of fortress of dead trees?”

“Yeah! Umm, it was like a biiig passageway down, then two smaller passages to the southeast and northwest with bracken and a few other baddies, and then another big passage down that was crawling with phase serpents and black dracos!”

The scribe feels a lump in her throat. Phase serpents and black dracos, that close to Mirith…it was enough to make a scribe consider early retirement and a relaxing career as an angler on the southern archipelago.

“You doin’ okay?” asks the rogue. “Really zoning out. Do I need…to get a cleric or some other random healer I find wandering the-“

The scribe cuts her off. “No, not necessary. I was merely devising a way to frame this. Were the…phase serpents and dracos properly contained, until you somehow opened that section of that deadwood demesne and battled them?”

“Yeah.”

“How many would you estimate were contained within the arboreal walls?”

Gasby gives her a long, vacant stare. As the scribe opens her mouth, Gasby sparks to life and responds, “Oh, you mean like ‘trees!’ Okay. That’d be about a dozen of each! I didn’t really count, but that number feels right.”

This time, the scribe takes notes.

“And were there any clues as to why such a gathering of fearsome foes in Foehan?”

The rogue thinks for a moment. “Okay, I’m probably gonna screw up the names…but I think that Sopor died, and their siblings were upset about it? Ummm…one sibling was named Torpor, but I don’t remember the other. Languor? Horror? Something ‘-or?’ I don’t remember…”

A bit hesitant at the unreliable information, the scribe nonetheless takes notes.

Silence lingers. “It was because Sopor ‘drank too deep’ of arcane magics and now has fallen into an eternal slumber. I remember that much.”

“Incredible,” the scribe intones mirthlessly. “One single useful detail. How astounding.”

Gasby shrugs. “Don’t look at me like that. I got there after the main party had gathered—again, I was helping with the dudes dead in Foehan proper, not in the northwest fortress-thingie—so it’s all a little foggy.”

“Moving on, then,” says the scribe, impatient now. “What did you recover?”

“I died on the chest—it had a really strong trap, and I just let it explode me like a fool. So we don’t know if I got everything.” For once, the urchin sounds crestfallen.

“But you did recover some manner of treasures, correct?”

“Yeah, there was a bunch of stuff in that explodey chest near the gravesite—which was on the former portal to THE VOID.” Gasby makes her voice deep and resonant.

“You could have mentioned that earlier, as it does seem significant.”

“No one asked you. Ummm…got like four well-made gray robes, an ice crystal, a small moon fragment, and a bunch of class tokens. Oh, that last one was from inside.”

“Inside?”

“Yup, after we’d beaten up all but one final phase serpent, who was too relaxed to hurt, we went into the night harpie cave and found a few ‘cos and serps in there. They were guarding another chest with six class tokens, which I’m pretty sure works out to one of each type.”

“It does,” the scribe says. She’s almost hesitant to ask. “What…do you make of all of it?”

Gasby giggles. “Do I look like a mage to you? Seriously, this is the most magical I get.” She rummages around in a pocket and extracts a bag labeled with a sloppy red “X.” “That stands for ‘x’plosive dust, btw,” explains Gasby.

“I am sure it does. But…your best guess?”

“Something like…residual energy from Sopor dying? Or…the void portal getting closed? Or just some awful magical incident? What do you think?”

Rubbing at her eyes, the scribe sighs. “They do not remunerate me for my thoughts.”

Gasby taps her foot. “Are we done here? It feels like it’s taken a few weeks to get this thing straightened out, and I have more fun things that I’d rather be doing.”

“We are finished, yes.” The scribe looks up to give the rogue a nod, but she has already slunk off into the shadows.

***

The following report is available for public viewing in Mirith:

During the waning days of the Sleeping Moon, Year 452, a group of adventurers discovered something unusual in Foehan: a fortress comprised of dead trees. Venturing through several bats, they found bracken and other creatures in the early rooms of the stronghold, with phase serpents and black dracos further in.

The group fought off a strange person known as Torpor and one of their siblings, but it seemed a third sibling had perished some time earlier. Said malicious magic user was buried on or near the former portal to the void, and a chest full of fine gray robes, an icy crystal, and a moon fragment was located soon after.

The group explored a nearby cave full of night harpies and recovered a variety of class tokens before making the short jaunt back to Mirith.

It is believed that the creatures gathered as a result of the arcane magics of Sopor and perhaps their siblings, at least one of whom is still among the living.

Take care in the days of the waking moon if approached by any peculiar mage whose name ends in ‘-or,’ as they are likely hostile.

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